Why is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Gaining Momentum?

12 02 2012

by Kenneth Honecker

The consumerization of IT has been led by Apple’s iPhone. The Android and iPad quickly followed and have only added fuel to the BYOD flames. Laptops have also become a more personal device. The pressure has mounted to allow these personal devices on enterprise networks.  As I started seeing more companies allow personal devices, I wanted to find out why.  After reading numerous articles, I found the answers to my question – potential cost savings for the company and exercise of personal preference for the employee.

Cost savings for a company can be achieved on the purchase of the device, the monthly costs for service and the support model. There are really three ways to pay for the initial cost and monthly service of the device: 1) company pays, 2) employee pays or 3) company and employee share the cost. Let’s examine the value proposition for each scenario.

If the company pays for the device, it may require a 3 year warranty and have all support provided by the hardware vendor and the employee (remember, it’s your device now). While the hardware costs remain the same for the company, the ongoing support costs are shifted elsewhere. The company may continue to pay for all of the monthly services such as phone and data and still realize an overall reduction in costs to provide IT services for this employee.

If the employee pays for the device, there is a direct cost savings to the company on the hardware and support costs. The IT support staff can be reduced as it will be supporting fewer devices. I was surprised to read that some companies, especially those in the financial and healthcare industries, have employees pay for their monthly service. This scenario could provide huge cost savings to the company as it saves on hardware, support and monthly service. The employee is happy to be able to have their personal preference, although there is a cost for exercising this choice.

The third scenario is a hybrid where the company and the employee share the costs. The sharing of the costs is beneficial to the company from a financial perspective and beneficial to the employee as they get to exercise personal preference, although they do so at a cost. The company, of course, saves money on the hardware purchase, the support model and the monthly service fees. As an example, some companies have a 50/50 program where an employee selects their device and the company splits the costs. The company would have a cap on the costs for this program.

In addition to cost savings, there are other benefits to companies and employees for embracing a BYOD policy. Offering employees the opportunity to choose their own device is empowering and fosters good will. Staff may also be happier and thus more productive with devices that they prefer to use. Citrix and SAP are examples of two very large companies that are expanding their use of BYOD. This makes perfect sense as Citrix specializes in virtualization, which is a major technical component of a successful BYOD implementation. SAP wants to extend access to their systems to any device, so it too has an interest in promoting BYOD.  SAP executives firmly believe that access to data from any device will accelerate the decision making process and revolutionize business.

There is tremendous momentum for BYOD and I believe that it will transform how IT services are delivered and this is exciting. Be cautious, though.  I concur with a recent article in Network World that noted that BYOD is a “huge disruptive force in enterprise security”.  Yes, security is the elephant in the corner of the conference room during discussions of BYOD. Please, let the elephant have a seat at the table.

  1. Bajaran, Tim (January 30, 2012). Bring Your Own Device: How Consumer Products Are Impacting IT. Time. Retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://techland.time.com/2012/01/30/bring-your-own-device-how-consumer-products-are-impacting-it/#ixzz1m7fU0H6H
  2. Bradley, Tony (December 21, 2012). Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Own Device to Work. PCWORLD. Retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/246760/pros_and_cons_of_bringing_your_own_device_to_work.html
  3. Messmer, Ellen (December 21, 2011). Security minefield: ‘Bring your own device’ will bedevil IT security in 2012. Networkworld. Retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/122111-outlook-security-254224.html
  4. State of BYOD Report (2011). Retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://www.good.com/resources/Good_Data_BYOD_2011.pdf
  5. Taylor, Paul (January 4, 2012). Bring Your Own Device Projects Cut Costs. Financial Times. Retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fd92894c-3658-11e1-a3fa-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m7Uqaf17
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