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Does BYOD Cost Too Much?

Tom Kaneshige | Feb. 21, 2013
It's a good bet you don't know how much your company is spending on all those "Bring Your Own Device" smartphones and tablets. Even worse, it's probably too much, says a mobility management expert.

People are carrying three, four or five different devices when the policy states they can carry one or possibly two.

We see unbelievable overages in messaging and outrageous data consumption. Eleven percent of the download spend in the enterprise is adult content. That could be anything from Misty Mobile love alerts to Companies are spending an average, additional 29 cents per cellular line on 411 calls today. One user had $110 on 411 calls in a single month.

Many companies with a BYOD smartphone policy offer a monthly stipend, with the amount varying depending on the employee's role. This caps the risk of outrageous bills, right?

The stipend is a bit of a blunt instrument.

An enterprise will put in a blanket allowance, say, everyone gets $75. If you look at the roles and functions where $75 is actually appropriate, the [number of employees] is pretty small. If you have a single stipend and draw a line in the sand, you're likely under motivating a number of employees while over motivating others.

And you've lost a lot of visibility in how these devices are being used.

The issue here is, who picked $75? What did they do to design that program? Was it based on the way they use mobility? The point we're trying to make is that the stipend hits very few people exactly on the head, in terms of their functional requirements.

VMware claims to be saving $2 million a year with a BYOD smartphone mandate. The CIO told me that it would be cost-prohibitive to take a hybrid approach: BYOD smartphones mixed with company-owned smartphones. Is the mandate the way to go?

First thing I'd ask, did they have all the data to set that baseline of $2 million in savings? They're probably operating off a baseline that wasn't comprehensive to begin with.

In terms of BYOD mandates, we don't see our customers saying everyone has to buy their own phone. If they did, you'd find exceptions that pop up. There are executive teams and sales assets that you don't want to give up control. Who owns the phone number? What happens when a salesperson leaves?

You provide visibility into BYOD smartphones. Do you run into employee privacy issues?

No, we don't. There is precedence in the marketplace where people are giving a company access to billing information. A common expense reporting scenario: here's my hotel bill but the gift shop expense is personal.

The other thing to understand is, what we present is summary-level information at a category or plan-and-feature level. So we basically say, your voice was this amount, your data this amount.

Nucleus Research predicts BYOD will get a reality check this year due to hidden costs. Do you think high costs will derail BYOD?


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