Cisco’s BYOD Survey Sheds Light On BYOD Popularity And Costs [Update]

Cisco’s BYOD Survey Sheds Light On BYOD Popularity And Costs [Update]

Cisco study shows BYOD is a reality not a possibility but there are some costs involved

Update: We incorrectly posted that Cisco charges its users to participate in its BYOD program. While the company’s report does list an average $600 expense for employees making use of BYOD, that expense refers to the purchase of a smartphone or other device and not an additional fee to use the device in the workplace. Clarifications from Cisco’s Ross Camp are included at the end of this post.

Cisco released a new report on BYOD programs at U.S. companies. The survey provides insights into the prevalence of BYOD, how companies manage BYOD programs, and some of the costs associated with BYOD approaches. While those stats are useful and important, the biggest and most surprising revelation in the report came from Cisco itself.

In planning and implementing its BYOD program, Cisco opted to charge users a fee (on average of $600) for the privilege of using their own devices at work.

Perhaps even more shocking than Cisco demanding cash to let its workers use devices that they’ve already paid to buy is the fact that employees are willing to pay that additional cost.

The survey itself highlights a few central facts about BYOD programs.

  • 95% of survey respondents said their organizations allow employee-owned devices to some degree
  • 76% said BYOD was somewhat or extremely positive for workers and the company as a whole while at the same time being challenging for IT
  • The number of devices used by the average worker is expected to grow to at least three within the next two years
  • 84% said that their company provides tech support for employee-owned mobile devices to some extent
  • 36% said their company offers complete support for personal devices
  • 40% reported that being able to choose devices and apps was primary motivation for users to participate in a BYOD program – the ability to accomplish personal activities in the office and to work outside of traditional hours being the next biggest motivation
  • Depending on the program, industry, and job roles, companies can save as much $1300 per employee each year by implementing BYOD
  • 68% noted that desktop virtualization using a mobile device like an iPad is suitable for the bulk of knowledge worker jobs while half said their companies have virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in place will be implementing it
  • Overall, there are several expense associated with BYOD models but only 14% of those expenses related to hardware

Of the items in that list, some generate expenses of varying degrees – overall increased IT workload, tech support, and VDI (VDI being particularly expensive to setup in most cases).  Not highlighted are the expenses involved in securing and managing mobile devices, apps, and content – typically through the use of one or more mobile management solutions.

From an iOS perspective, the cost of buying apps for users through Apple’s volume purchase plan is also absent – those costs can be significant because a redemption code cannot be reused. Once a user downloads the app, it becomes associated with his or her iTunes Store account meaning that a company will need to replace the app if a given user leaves the company (the only exception is Apple Configurator, which can recycle apps provided they were installed by Configurator and that user’s device is wiped using Configurator).

Other common expenses can include cost sharing for data plans (if implemented), the added expense reporting and reimbursement workload for accounting departments, and any other interdepartmental overhead. According to Aberdeen Group, a tech research company, BYOD costs can annually cost a company $170 per user more than traditional company-provided options.

Cisco’s model essentially makes the company’s employees pay for those additional expenses. That said, there is a notable difference between the theoretical $170 cost and Cisco’s $600 fee. That could be because of specific expenses in Cisco’s program or $600 could be a one-shot fee Cisco collects rather than an annual fee.

Ross Camp Cisco’s Director of Public Relations provided the following clarification to our post.

I did want to clarify a misstatement in your story and ask for a correction.  Your headline and several statements in the article suggest that Cisco is charging Cisco employees $600 to use their personal devices at work.  That is incorrect.  Cisco does not charge its employees a fee to use their own devices.

The statement in the release states: Employees are willing to invest to improve their work experience. According to Cisco IBSG, Cisco employees pay an average of $600 out-of-pocket for devices that will give them more control over their work experience.

What this means is that employees are generally willing to pay on average $600 when they purchase their own devices (in retail, online, etc) to ensure they get a device that not only provides features they find useful in their personal time, but will provide them with functionalities that will give them more control over their work experience.

Cisco does not mandate that they buy any device, and again, absolutely does not charge them a fee to use those devices in the workplace.

  • PauloSeguel

    I detect someone with reading issues here.

    The employee is not paying anything to the employer.
    600 dollars means that the employee pays such price for its personal device instead of paying nothing and use the corporate laptop/phone.
    If you think, an iPad (or a similar tablet) or even an smartphone falls in that price range.
  • doug21

    Correct Paulo. Speaking as a Cisco employee, the opposite of the article’s headline is true. Cisco will give you a phone, or you can chose to buy your own. If you chose to buy your own, Cisco will subsidise you the cost of the company supplied phone (circa $170) and you are free to buy whatever you want (as long as it runs Android or iOS).

  • MoistPup

    Hey FYI… you should define an acronym (especially an uncommon one like BYOD) in the first sentence in which it is used.

  • thegraphicmac

    Good grief… pay-per-post is killing the web!

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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