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Enterprise Mobile User Empowerment - BYOD Brings a Heavy Price to the CIO

Sept. 5, 2012

SMEs only marginally behind big businesses in BYOD adoption.

The growing trend of empowering enterprise employees with their own mobile devices is causing many headaches for the CIOs of corporates and executives of smaller SME companies, according to independent research conducted by MDS. As well as the major behavioral and planning issues inherent in the trend, allowing employees to use their own device is estimated to cost businesses 20% more than providing them with a company-secured contract.

The findings suggest there is significant disparity in how businesses adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, and highlight resultant problems in transparency, cost-planning, and productivity – a disparity which service providers need to address in order to smooth the deployment of such services in medium and big businesses. Indeed, of the respondents, 71% suggested service providers need to be doing more to support the growing BYOD trend.

The cost burden to businesses adopting the policy is a critical element to resolve, with 61% of respondents thinking the cost of BYOD is difficult to ascertain, and 59% thinking BYOD will make balancing spend visibility and control with user empowerment a major challenge.

Of the companies surveyed, just over half (56%) have a BYOD policy for employees wanting to use their own mobile devices for work purposes, with such programmes more likely to be found in bigger businesses; 64% of companies with 1,000+ employees have such, while 49% of businesses with under 1,000 employees still have adopted the BYOD model.

In terms of reimbursement, just 41% do so through expenses, with 28% having a fixed compensation package for own-mobile usage, and rather worryingly, 18% offer no reimbursement at all. Such widespread discrepancy suggests there is still confusion around best practice with BYOD, and potential for losses around incorrect claims or under-used mobiles against fixed packages.

Pitfalls around cost and reimbursement are exacerbated by a lack of cohesion in how contracts are agreed, with employers most likely to offer guidance only in 44% of respondents and just 36% offering a list of approved contract types.

Bring Your Own Device Brings Its Own Headaches – key findings:

  • 63% believe increased productivity and user empowerment through BYOD comes at a significant cost
  • 61% think the cost burden of employees using their own mobile device is difficult to ascertain
  • 71% believe service providers could do more to support the growing demand for BYOD

Matt Hooper, CMO for MDS, commented, “These findings should provide a wake-up call to employers and the service provider industry alike, as it clearly demonstrates that much work needs to be done in order to help support the growth of the BYOD model. Today’s employees demand flexibility and when managed well, a robust BYOD policy can help augment an agile business – however, when untended, it can develop into an unmanageable process and cause unnecessary cost, negating the business benefits. There is certainly a strong role for the service provider industry to play in educating the market about the opportunity, and providing service models that help manage the use of BYOD”.

The findings are the result of research conducted among 205 IT/Telecoms decision makers in the UK in April 2012.

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