The BYOD Debate: Will It Really Save Your Business Money?

The BYOD Debate: Will It Really Save Your Business Money?

Bring your own device (BYOD) has become an accepted practice in business. Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of all employers will require workers to supply their own devices for work.

Yet there are mixed reports about whether BYOD actually saves businesses money.

Bring your own device (BYOD) lets employees use their own computers, tablets, and smartphones for work purposes. As a business practice, is BYOD more cost-effective than issuing company-owned devices? Two years ago, the Aberdeen Group reported that enterprises with 1,000 mobile devices spent an average of an extra $170,000 per year on BYOD. More recently, however, Intel reports saving money with BYOD.

As Nancy Gohring of Computerworld explains, the accounting isn’t so simple. “It depends on how you implement BYOD,” she says, “and how you count and manage expenses.” For many enterprises, processing employee expense reports is a costly proposition. According to some estimates, managing reimbursements manually can cost as much as $20 per expense report.

Yet some organizations are finding ways to contain costs. For example, workers for the State of Delaware are eligible for monthly reimbursements for wireless service, but must submit their bills through an online expense form. In the private sector, companies such as Brunswick use a special internal application. At Intel, however, BYOD workers don’t file expense reports at all. Managers must monitor their employees.

So how much does “monitoring by manager” cost Intel? At Brunswick, how much did it cost to design and deploy the reimbursement application – and what are the software’s maintenance costs? With the State of Delaware, what happens if an employee uses a personal device to view and share inappropriate content? Is the state liable if another employee files a harassment suit, and what about the political fallout?

Computerworld’s Nancy Gohring is right when she writes “it depends.” Enterprises need to design and deploy the right technologies, yet they also need to consider all of their costs.

Do you have a BYOD policy? If so, what types of savings and/or additional expenditures have you seen?

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