Bring Your Own Device

The real costs associated with BYOD: Are enterprises prepared?

In order to carry out a successful BYOD program, enterprises need to properly understand how to manage their mobile expenses. Here are a few tips and best practices to ensure your BYOD program is a success.

The BYOD trend is taking enterprise mobility to a whole new level. Over the past year or so, a slew of companies have started equipping their employees with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with the goal of streamlining operations and improving productivity in the workplace.

Major organizations like Ford, Nordstrom, The Home Depot, even the British Parliament, have started equipping employees with mobile devices. Lowes, the second largest home improvement store in the world, announced a massive iPad roll-out - 42,000 tablets across 175 stores - signaling a major shift in enterprise mobility.

BYOD is clearly making significant progress within the corporate environment. According to a recent BT survey, 60 percent of employees are now using personal devices for work. The research also showed that 82 percent of companies surveyed say they already have a BYOD program in place or have plans to implement one within the next year or so.

BYOD has had a huge impact on the growing adoption of these data-heavy devices in the enterprise. Regardless of how positive an impact these devices have on increasing productivity, streamlining processes and improving worker satisfaction, the fact of the matter is that most enterprises are unprepared when it comes to widespread adoption of tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices within their own organizations.

These devices have undoubtedly changed how employees work-creating an always connected world where only one device is used for work or play. The problem is they also change the enterprise IT cost structure, driving company and employee mobility costs way up.  Companies now need wireless throughout the office and need to have plans in place to support the massive amounts of data that will be consumed and paid for on a monthly per device basis.  There have been several articles that have stated just how BYOD has successfully brought Apple products into the enterprise-but the unfortunate side of that is that Apple has left it up to the enterprises to deal with it.

What many organizations aren't prepared for are all the services, varying rates and expenses associated with these devices that now need to be managed under one roof.

Another key point is that while the influx of faster, better mobile devices helps keep companies more innovative and cutting edge, it is now changing the office experience and IT's role forever.  With the complexity involved with so many employees using completely different devices, IT department needs to take an active role, managing device bills (often with different carriers and plans), balance all of the different allotments/expenditures involved so that the companies aren't losing money-and at the same time do so in a way that does not hurt morale or productivity by preventing wanted devices from accessing work data.

In order to carry out a successful BYOD program, enterprises need to properly understand how to manage their mobile expenses.  Organizations need to ensure that employees are on the right plans and are not being taken advantage of with overage charges, insurance, or unneeded minutes.  Here are a few tips and best practices to ensure your BYOD program is a success:

  • Make sure your corporate mobile usage policies are in-place before you launch any corporate mobility program. Create guidelines specifically around out-of-work policies to govern use.
  • Understand group plans in order to optimize individual usage with price points and avoid overpaying for unused services.
  • Review and inspect service plans on a regular basis. Pay close attention to your mobile device service bills to ensure that they match the contract you signed. This will help you to avoid missing discounts and ensure contract compliance.
  • Beware of unnecessary charges. Employees that are using mobile devices may be getting crammed. Unauthorized phone charges cost Americans over $2 billion a year; don't let your company fall victim to cramming.
  • Re-negotiate your wireless service plan often. This should not be a one-time negotiation; it must be done on a consistent basis to get the best rates and optimal service plans. Using powerful mobile expense management analytics tools can be very helpful in automating this arduous process and keeping your costs down.
  • Weed Out Abusers. In every office, there is an employee or two who is abusing the system and downloading movies over their phone while working on their desktop. Without the regular review of usage, these issues would never be found and costs would remain artificially high.
  • Understand your policy for adding new devices, replacing broken devices or upgrading. Work with your service provider to make sure you will not be hit with large fees when you need to add more devices to your plan.
  • Set up a private WAN (wireless WiFi) for employees to access whenever possible. This will limit the data usage on the carrier's bandwidth and in turn save retailers money.

For all enterprises incorporating BYOD, a critical success factor will depend on how well they understand and manage their mobile expenses. By adhering to these guidelines, the savings in unused minutes/bytes alone will have a significant impact on the bottom line - and true mobile management can be achieved without impacting employee choice and company morale.

David Snow, CMO, has more than 20 years of network communications experience with both large and small companies.  Before joining Xigo, he was vice president of field operations at Cerylion, where he designed and launched the company's network financial management product and service offerings.

14 comments
Ian Frazer
Ian Frazer

Any suggested words for such policies, perhaps couched along the lines of the ISO 27001 frame work, regarding use of BYOD in a corporate setting? Thanks.

MyopicOne
MyopicOne

...already being commented upon, you can count on C-series' everywhere to fail to account for costs (time and labor) associated with: 1) completion of provisioning devices to corporate standards - it'll always be point and click, right? 2) Increased number of incidents and time of investigation surrounding those incidents (security and otherwise) as IT will not be able to count on standard configurations - at least until a body of knowledge is built up (which in turn relies on staff stability - I won't go there in this response). Note that this is likely to have a nefarious impact on projects large and small and will likely be simply another source of project time and cost overruns. In other words it is very likely that yet another impact to IT cost and time efficiencies will be [i]overlooked and unaccounted-for[/i] by those in charge - and become another club to beat already-overloaded staff with.

centrop67
centrop67

How is company's providing devices considered BYOD?

gordonwp
gordonwp

Isn't the point of BYOD to avoid having to provide mobile devices and plans to your user community? It would seem a successful BYOD program would be able to provide access to information and applications in a secured manner without having to manage the end device.

kgc
kgc

BYOD may be ???Bring Your Own Device???, but the implication of the article is that this does not include ???Bring Your Own Network Service???. Remembering the difficulties we experienced even trying to hold a sensible conversation with the service provider of mobile phones, quite apart from achieving any sort of sensible outcome, I dread to think what joys will be in store when trying to achieve a satisfactory service and charging regime for the mix of facilities now being considered. Beware the standard telecomm provider strategy of charge a fortune for ill defined services and act stupid when challenged.

jkaylor
jkaylor

There's a big difference between corporate managing business-provided/sanctioned mobile devices, hence the Bring your own Business Device (BYOBD), verses attempting to manage a private individual mobile device (Bring Your Own Device, BYOD). Security, privacy, expense, and availability, need consideration for both the individual and the business sides and are all factors in how and what is allowed and who is responsible.

rbig
rbig

It is not "BYOD". If Lowe's is rolling out 42,000 tablets, it has a major mobility project not a "BYOD" project and shouldn't be mentioned in such a short, hopefully focused report. Although both company-provided and employee-provided hardware have many of the same issues, much better control and security can be obtained by company-owned equipment. Employees always feel that if they own the equipment, they have the "right" to put games, porn, and anything else they want on "their" device. The company can have policies, but enforcement becomes an issue.

hodl2003
hodl2003

Judging from the article, companies are providing employees with mobile devices on the job. This practice isn't any different than what one of my former employers did when providing us laptops. The same issues we faced then---security, access, etc.---apply to the mobile devices today. Good information for those unfamiliar with the subject matter, but nothing new here for this old timer.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

I love the term 'wireless WiFi'. Is WiFi not wireless enough? What's next, ether-ethernet (transmitting network signals through a sweet, volitile liquid. needs Cat6 copper cabling, sulfuric acid and ethanol) :) Yep - I'm in that sort of mood again today :D

brantmills
brantmills

It is generally considered bad practice to use an acronym without spelling it out on first reference. It is fine in the headline for brevity, but every communications professional I know says to always spell it out on first reference. The fact that I know BYOD means Bring Your Own Device is irrelevant if I have to think about it for a second or if I'm new to the industry and don't know the jargon. If I happen across your website as a curious outsider I shouldn't have to use context clues or search for an acronym to figure out what it means. You guys seem to do this a lot, and it would be incredibly helpful if you would just spell it out. Thanks!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...IT will not be able to count on standard configurations - at least until a body of knowledge is built up (which in turn relies on staff stability..." It also relies on hardware configuration stability. That's tough to maintain when individual users are changing devices every 18 - 24 months, when the hardware fleet as a whole isn't turning over on a regular or controlled schedule, and when IT doesn't know what models are coming in next.

spdragoo
spdragoo

If you're the one that buys the device, brings it into work, & use it to do your work, it's BYOD (Bring Your [b]Own[/b] Device). If your employer providese you with the device to perform your work -- whether it's a traditional desktop PC or a mobile PC (laptop, tablet, smartphone, whatever) -- then it's a CPD ([b]Corporate[/b]-Provided Device). For the latter, it belongs to the [b]employer[/b], so the existing data/Internet policies (& the associated software controls) already apply to it, plus they're the ones paying for the data plan. For the former, there's the dual expectation that a) what you do in your free time (i.e. "off the clock") is up to you, but b) what you do during work time ("on the clock") is subject to monitoring & control by the employer. If that means your smartphone has a constantly-running app that logs when you access non-work-related apps and websites, & reports when you're doing it while on the clock... then that's fine, [b]because your employer is paying you to work, not to do non-work-related items[/b]. And it's no more invasive than, say, tracking a delivery driver's truck to make sure he's working his route & not "taking an extra long break" at the mall; or, for example, requiring a sales rep in the field to call into the office every time he finishes one client meeting & is leaving for the next. You're on the clock, so your time is your employer's money. You'd be upset if a contractor was billing you by the hour to replace a damaged roof, & you found him taking a 30-minute "smoke break" every hour to pad his chargeable time; don't expect employers to be any more lenient when it comes to employees and their "work".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

why so much discussion on the company monitoring the charges, rates, and fees? Are companies footing the connectivity bill for employees' personal devices?

spdragoo
spdragoo

Because you [b]know[/b] that a lot of employees will say, "Hey, I'm using this to do work, so you should pay for my data plan." But -- rightly so -- the company has the right to come back and say, "Sure, we'll pay... for the portion you used to do [b]work[/b], not to watch episodes of [u]Bones[/u] or [u]CSI[/u] on Hulu Plus, or the Facebook/Twitter updates about how dry & brown your grass was...".