Posted in: BYOD, Latest News & Views
Allowing employees to work on their own personal devices can lead to cost savings. However, BYOD programs also increase costs in some areas.
It isn’t just employees who benefit from the chance to use their own smartphones and tablets. According to one recent survey, BYOD increases profits, raises productivity and improves employee retention.
However, there are also a number of challenges in implementing a BYOD program, particularly in the IT department, according to a report from iPass and MobileIron.
These were top sources of hidden BYOD costs, according to the survey of 477 IT pros:
1. Cellular contract costs
At many companies, when employees bring their own devices, they’re responsible for paying for the device and any cellular and data service. However, in other cases — often for employees whose jobs require heavy mobile use — the company foots some or all of the bill. And those companies are seeing their costs increase.
Overall, 57% of organizations believe mobile costs will increase next year, with 8% expecting an increase of more than 25%.
However, some firms have had luck reducing costs by streamlining their mobile carriers, according to the survey. Among the IT pros surveyed, 32% said they deal with only one mobile carrier, while 39% use from two to five. Reducing the number of carriers leads to volume discounts and simpler billing, which makes it easier to control costs.
2. Configuration and support
In addition to the money spent on cellular service, BYOD can also increase costs by creating more work for the IT department. That’s especially the case as organizations are becoming more lenient in what devices they allow employees to bring to work. More than half (55%) of the IT pros surveyed said their organization recently changed its BYOD policy to allow more personal devices to be used.
Increases in the number and variety of personal devices makes it more difficult to onboard and support those devices. And in fact, the IT pros surveyed said their top BYOD challenge was approving, configuring and supporting personal personal devices to access the corporate network.
To minimize the impact, companies should:
- Give IT staff the training necessary to support all the devices employees might bring in
- Make sure every one in the company is clearly informed about what devices are and aren’t approved, so they don’t waste time trying to have an unapproved device supported, and
- Provide BYOD participants with tools they can use to get support without contact IT — for example, some companies set up online portals where users of the same device can share troubleshooting tips and other ideas.
3. BYOD policy exceptions
BYOD support costs also increase because the policy often isn’t equal for everyone in the company — for example, executives are often allowed to use a personal device that other employees wouldn’t be able to.
In fact, 55% of IT pros said they’ve had to make exceptions to the policy to meet an executive’s demands.
The solution? It depends on the company. Often, the best bet is to explain to the executive the reasons for not supporting that particular device. In many cases, he or she will understand — but in others, IT will have no choice.
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