A report out today from Syntonic, a mobile platform and services provider, has brought some surprising BYOD statistics to light. For starters, would you believe 81 percent of businesses have or are planning on implementing a BYOD policy?
The shock doesn't come from how popular BYOD is becoming: It comes from the massive waste being generated in employee reimbursement programs. 71 percent of IT decision makers surveyed for the report admit to overspending.
How reimbursements usually work
Reimbursing an employee for using their own laptop isn't what this report is about: It is purely focused on smartphones. A 2014 court decision in California stated that companies had to reimburse employees for business expenses incurred on their personally owned phones, which is a major reason why organizations around the country have started offering BYOD reimbursements.
SEE: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy (Tech Pro Research)
Of the companies offering reimbursement, nearly half simply pay a stipend every month, amounting to an average of around $71.40. Very little effort is made to calculate costs, and even less is spent making calculations accurate.
Why is it so inaccurate?
Most companies that are overspending are doing so by between $100 and $499 annually per employee—that's a lot of money when you have even a handful of employees who are reimbursed.
IT decision makers have a bunch of different justifications for overspending: expense reporting incurs too many fees, it's too hard to calculate, and even too much time being spent trying to make calculations.
What can businesses do to solve the problem?
As with any report, problem solving recommendations are included. In this case, Syntonic recommends instituting a split billing system, like its DataFlex app.
Split billing is designed to completely separate personal smartphone use from business applications, resulting in far less wasted reimbursement.
SEE: Split billing for BYOD and enterprise mobility (TechRepublic)
Only five percent of businesses use split billing software, and 40 percent of respondents said they didn't even know what it was. With that in mind it's easy to see why over 70 percent of businesses are overpaying on BYOD reimbursements.
In order to save money and reimburse accurately, IT and corporate leadership teams need to work together to determine the best way to track data usage on personally owned devices. Whether that's by using split billing software like DataFlex or simply by requiring employees to keep a close eye on their data usage is up to the company. What's mandatory is that businesses get a hold on this large area of waste as fast as they can.
BYOD isn't going away—if anything it's only going to become more common as technology becomes a basic part of our individual identities. Don't let BYOD expenses get out of hand when the tools to control them exist.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- A new report from Syntonic reveals 81 percent of businesses allow BYOD smartphones, and 71 percent are reimbursing employees too much.
- Most businesses are losing between $100 and $499 per employee per year.
- IT leaders need to work with management to enact BYOD reimbursement policies that include split billing. Software designed for split billing can monitor data usage on BYOD devices to determine accurate reimbursement rates.
- 10 common BYOD pitfalls to watch out for (TechRepublic)
- What's the organizing principle of today's digital workplace? (ZDNet)
- The five military OPSEC steps that businesses can learn from (TechRepublic)
- The BYOD Balancing Act (ZDNet)
- Hacking Your Phone (CBS News)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.