Is a "BYOD" Strategy Right for Your Business?

Mobility is a part of virtually every industry and business strategy across economies in the world today. We can now enable all facets of business – sales, product and service delivery, and operations – from anywhere, anytime.

Minimizing risk with corporate-owned devices
The decision to deploy corporate-owned devices exclusively, rather than allowing a “bring your own device” (BYOD) strategy, is based primarily on the need for risk management and compliance to existing regulatory and security policies. Effective management and control of devices and applications loaded on those devices, along with the need to protect corporate data, are key factors in a BYOD decision. 

In spite of concerns from the IT department, demand for BYOD has continually increased. Work force requirements from the executive suite, sales teams, and service delivery teams have increasingly led IT to consider BYOD as a business strategy. In a 2013 Gartner report titled "Bring Your Own Device: The Facts and the Future," David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of all employers will require their employees to provide their own devices for work purposes.

Reduce business expenses through BYOD
The cost of providing corporate liable devices across the business process space is largely understood today. Generally, a single supplier provides discounted plans, based upon volume discounts. By taking advantage of data pooling, volume messaging plans for both domestic and international, voice is essentially free and included in most SMB and enterprise plans today. Through examination of existing remote access security policy, enterprise LAN/WAN security policies, and thoughtful consideration of new mobility policies, concerns regarding security and regulatory compliance have or can be addressed. The additional elements of mobility that may be required are generally addressed through a careful selection process for a Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology solution. MDM solutions have grown in usage with both anecdotal and empirical data to support decisions.

However, what is the business case for BYOD? According to recent reports and studies, a BYOD strategy allows for significant cost saving in business expenses. A study by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, estimates that U.S. companies can save as much as $3,150 per employee per year if they implement a “comprehensive” BYOD program. While approximately half of the cost is real bottom line cost, a portion of the savings projection is based upon productivity increases and relies on “soft” cost numbers. Productivity numbers notwithstanding, with numbers like this, the case for BYOD seems clear and one that any company would feel compelled to consider.

Telecom Expense Management
Given the relatively complicated telecom expense cost model, it is important to understand all component pieces. BYOD is an expense that, for some companies, becomes an unexpected cost.

The operating expenses include:

  • Depending upon the size of the organization, loss of negotiated volume discounts can be a sizeable cost
  • Expense reporting for reimbursement of employees is often overlooked
  • Cost associated with security, management, and data loss as mentioned earlier
  •  Information technology costs increase at the help desk
  •  Company specific applications that now are developed and maintained across multiple operating system platforms

BYOD may well be an effective strategy to pursue for your business. Before launching such a strategy however, each company needs to first understand its current cost model. The size of the organization, industry regulatory requirements, the number of employees, and the overall business model are but some of the factors to consider. Once these factors are taken into consideration, you may determine a BYOD policy is well worth the risk.

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