Managing the Changing IT Landscape: Cost and Benefits of BYOD 


It seems to be a never-ending discussion: Do the productivity gains of BYOD offset the cost impact? In my opinion, the jury has decided—yes. Market research has shown growing business support for BYOD, and more IT organizations are introducing their own programs—clearly showing that the benefits do outweigh the costs. The bigger question is: Do we understand those costs?


Earlier this month I explored the topic some in my blog on stipend-based BYOD. In October 2012, Intel conducted BYOD research across four countries to gauge sentiment. Interestingly, we found that cost savings weren’t seen as a benefit of BYOD, yet intent and plans to support it were high; and while most organizations support BYOD, they don’t want to pay for it.


It’s all about productivity (for now)


A recent article by independent blogger (and writer for the “Trend Micro Consumerization Blog”) Cesare Garlati, sheds a little more light on the topic. It also affirms our research findings: Today, the primary driver for BYOD adoption is productivity. Garlati shared research published by analyst house Forrester Consulting[i] and Trend Micro, which revealed that:


·         Increasing worker productivity is cited as the top benefit to deploying BYOD programs.

·         More than 80% of respondents cite productivity as the business case for deployment.

·         Nearly 70% of respondents say BYOD impacted their bottom line.


Understanding costs: Far from a neat package


It is for these reasons that enterprise support for BYOD—and consumerization in general—is on the rise. And while the data I’ve seen shows me that BYOD does add additional costs for the organization, these costs are well worth the investment. However, measuring and understanding costs is easier said than done. As of yet, “no one has managed to formulate an effective framework for measuring the financial impact of consumer-grade technology on the enterprise. IT managers are effectively flying blind with only a vague notion of what to measure and how to measure it,” says Garlati.


So, how do you measure costs? Stipend-based programs are just a small piece of the puzzle. What about management costs, lifecycle costs, and security costs? Executives can also fall prey to the common misconception that overall business costs are reduced when the user is purchasing the device, or when the price of the device is lower, but there’s so much more to it. It is critical to examine all aspects of cost, from procurement and support to applications, device management, risk management, device or service plan reimbursement, and finally, network infrastructure costs. Recently, I heard several hospital and school administrators share that BYOD was not attractive to them because the wireless network in their facilities could not support sufficient quality of service.


Stay tuned. I’ll be exploring this topic further in a white paper that looks at TCO for companion BYO and corporate-supplied tablets in the enterprise, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, explore the Forrester findings on the 22 expense areas (Figure 4) that organizations are evaluating when it comes to BYOD.


How do you measure the cost impact of your BYOD program? Which costs do you consider the most significant?


#Consumerization #BYOD #TCO

  [i] Key Strategies Capture and Measure The Value of Consumerization of IT. Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned by Trend Micro (July 2012).