Still in doubt about the Bring Your Own Device movement? If you are, it's time to reconsider, because according to multiple research firms, the enterprise isn't, and neither are the employees that BYOD impacts. For companies, BYOD is compelling because of its potential cost savings. For example, Cisco, which implemented a mandatory BYOD policy in 2009, claims that "U.S. companies can save as much as $3,150 per employee per year" through a comprehensive Bring Your Own Device program. Let's take a look at some of the ways companies can cut their budget by freeing employees to choose and use their own devices.
Hardware cost savings
The most obvious cost savings that companies can realize through BYOD comes from hardware. Turning device procurement over to individual employees means that organizations no longer have to be out of pocket for corporate Blackberries or other smartphones and mobile devices for employees. Nor do they have to invest in prepurchase activities like product and vendor research and proposal evaluation, activities which take time and therefore cost additional money.
Communications cost savings
Along with hardware costs, companies implementing a BYOD policy can often turn over responsibility for phone and data plan bills to employees, too. While some organizations will offer employees a small stipend to help cover the costs of their data plans, the bulk of the cost can be transferred to employees, who, according to Cisco estimates, will each spend $734 per year on data plans, Forbes reported. And employees are typically willing to shoulder that cost in exchange for the freedom to use their own devices instead of being chained to a corporate phone.
Support cost savings
Switching from a corporate mobility program to BYOD will demand a change in support operations as well. For Cisco, that meant transitioning from their internal help desk to "Social Support," which enables social collaboration among employees to onboard new users and solve common problems. The vendor claims that this enabled them to save a full 25 percent in support costs over a two-year period.
Here's where things can get fuzzy—but still remain promising. BYOD is widely acknowledged to stimulate employee satisfaction and productivity. Those may be difficult to quantify, but at the end of the day, having the freedom to use the devices with which they feel most comfortable encourages employees to use the devices more often. They can get more done and feel happier about doing so. Happier employees, in turn, are more productive and more loyal employees. In fact, Bring Your Own Device is often considered a job perk—one that's increasingly expected, especially from the tech-savvy younger generations of workers.
It's true that employee device choice can lead to some additional security concerns. The good news is that these concerns can be alleviated, and VARs are uniquely positioned to help organizations figure out how. And if you're not sure where to start, look to your distributor for help.
Is the Bring Your Own Device movement as good for companies and employees as people believe? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments.