Do bring your own device (BYOD) programs that allow or encourage users to bring their personal iPhones, iPads, and other devices into the workplace reduce costs or do they drive costs up because of the need for mobile management, training, and technical support?
That fundamental question has been the source of a lot of debate, numerous studies, and a lot of sleepless nights for CIOs and IT managers.
The truth is that this is a question that’s difficult, if not impossible, to answer definitively. There are many variables involved in developing and implementing a BYOD policy or program.
Bring your own device (BYOD) programs that allow employees to use their personal iPhones, iPads, Android devices, or other mobile technologies in the office are becoming more mainstream. While there are many advantages to allowing or actively encouraging employee-owned devices in the workplace, reducing costs isn’t one of them for most companies despite the fact that cost reduction is one of the most common goals for a BYOD program.
In fact, companies are more likely to see costs increase after adding BYOD as an option for employees. That’s a common perception that is being proved accurate by a new study that looks at home companies are handling BYOD, the cost savings or increases associated with BYOD, and the mobile platforms supported by BYOD programs.
Mobile management vendor BoxTone announced an aggressive pricing and sales campaign for its mobile management platform today. From now through the end of September, companies will be able to license BoxTone’s mobile device management (MDM) suite for a monthly fee of just $0.99 per device.
The move comes just a week after BoxTone announced the latest generation of its mobile management tools that includes the now-discounted MDM module as well as modules focused on mobile app management (MAM), mobile device support solutions for help desk agents and IT support teams, and a mobile operations module for monitoring and managing mobile IT staff.
While most CIOs and IT leaders are taking steps to reduce their reliance on RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), some major BlackBerry business customers are ready to abandon RIM’s services and its BlackBerry smartphones in one fell swoop. The latest company to announce such a migration is the Australian airline Qantas.
The company told the Australian (registration required) that it had made the decision to trade its 1,300 BlackBerry devices and related service packages for iPhones. The move, which Qantas expects will deliver significant cost savings, follows a company-wide survey in which a “large majority” of employees said that they’d prefer iPhones.
Like other companies and organizations that have announced similar transitions this year, Qantas chief information officer Paul Jones pointed to the iPhone’s ease of use and popularity as reasons for selecting the iPhone.
Our iPhones and iPads, which enable us to work and be on call virtually anywhere at any time, will lead to more than half of us working while on vacation. That’s the result of a new study that looked at how technology impacts the work/life balance. iOS devices are common players in the bring your own device (BYOD) era. As BYOD programs lead many of us to use our personal iOS devices and other mobile technology for work-related tasks, they also encourage an “always on” attitude from employers and employees alike.
The study, commissioned by enterprise remote access vendor TeamViewer, shows that just over half (52%) of professionals expect to work while on vacation in one capacity or another.
It also comes on the heels of a similar study that we reported last week. That study showed that always-connected devices like the iPhone and iPad lead most of us to work well past the end of the business day. A practice so common, in fact, that many of us will work an extra seven hours outside of normal business hours and outside of the office each week.
One of the unique traits around iOS devices used in business and enterprise environments is that users have much higher expectations for mobile tools and processes than they do for traditional PC applications, processes, and user experiences. That’s true whether the device is employee-owned or provided by an employer.
It’s easy to see why most iPhone and iPad users have these higher standards. With iOS, Apple has created a platform that is app-driven and offers an incredible selection of apps to users. Apple, and many iOS developers, have done an amazing job of getting rid of anything that stands between the iOS user and the experience of content that they are watching, reading, or creating. That delivers an immersive experience that is unlike the vast majority business or productivity tools loaded on workplace PCs.
Bring your own device (BYOD) programs that let employees use their personal iPhones, iPads, and other devices for work purposes are becoming increasingly common. No one doubts that there are advantages to these programs in terms of employee productivity and satisfaction. That said, whether they actually save businesses money or incur outrageous new costs has been a matter of debate in the business and IT circles.
Based on a survey conducted by Osterman Research, such programs do have significant costs associated with them. On average, the study indicates that they will raise IT expenses by 48% between 2011 and 2013. Those costs, while real, may not always be easily seen or quantified in many companies.
The bring your own device (BYOD) movement and the broader trend of increased mobile solutions are driving a very ambivalent dialog in most business, schools, and government agencies. On one hand, iPhones, iPads, and other mobile technologies are increasing user productivity and satisfaction (often while improving customer engagement). On the other hand, many devices contain sensitive data and are far from being truly secure.
A handful of studies released over the past few days highlight the often-schizophrenic nature of the discussions taking place in many workplaces – including on experiment that showed 83% of individuals finding a lost corporate smartphone would attempt to access corporate data on it.
One interesting challenge that’s emerging for companies out of the bring your own device (BYOD) and iPad-at-work trends is deciding who’s responsible for setting and enforcing policies when it comes to employee-owned devices. The immediate assumption is that it should be the IT department, but what group within IT? Security, network management, and user support teams can all make a claim that it should be them.
There’s even the question of whether or not IT is even the right department to take ownership of the situation. Some HR executives are claiming that this is an employee policy issue and therefore their responsibility. Some finance chiefs are claiming that they should own mobile devices if there’s going to be any expense sharing with employees or a stipend that helps users purchase devices for work.
In a growing number of organizations, there’s talk about creating a new position or a dedicated team to handle everything mobile – iPhones, iPads, Android handsets, in-house and public app stores, and anything else related to iOS, mobile, or BYOD. In other words, a mobility chief, or iOS Czar.
Increased productivity is one of the most common rallying cries when people, myself included, talk about the consumerization trend in business technology and the related growth of personally owned mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad in the workplace. Increased productivity and the comfort of choosing and using the best apps or devices for the job is one big advantage that these trends have to offer, but it isn’t the only one.
The ability to collaborate is being unleashed by these trends in businesses around the world. That, perhaps, points a finger to why the iPad, cloud services like Box and Dropbox, and social networks have gained so much popularity in so many offices. They allow people to interact and collaborate in ways that traditional business collaboration tools do not.