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BYOD: If you think you're saving money, think again

Tom Kaneshige | April 5, 2012
It's the battle hymn of the mobile worker: They want to use their personal iPhones, iPads and Android devices instead of company-issued BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBooks to get their jobs done. It's part of a growing trend called BYOD, or bring-your-own-device.

The flip side is to unload BYOD support onto employees. The thinking goes, they are on the hook to repair their own personal devices. Got a problem with your iPad? Head to the nearest Apple Genius Bar.

As BYOD becomes more pervasive and mission-critical, this kind of self-service won't hold up. "You don't really have control of the device and data if employees are solely responsible for managing the device," Park says. "At that point, the company has abdicated control of some of its assets."

Bottom line: CIOs will have to invest in help desk support for BYOD.

Hidden Cost: Multi-Platform, Multi-Department

Let's face it, mobile BYOD means more platforms to develop apps for and support. Sure, many CIOs don't allow reportedly leaky Android devices into their BYOD programs. Nevertheless, BYOD may eventually lead to internal, native iOS app development for both the iPhone and iPad.

The cost of internal app development can rise dramatically with BYOD. Companies that "go native" must invest in each platform in the BYOD portfolio.

BYOD not only requires multi-platform support but multi-department support, too. "BYOD requires significant cross-departmental overhead to ensure that everyone involved in employee administration, from HR to IT to security, is on the same page," says Rainer Enders, CTO Americas for NCP engineering, a VPN solutions provider.

When a BYOD employee gives notice or is terminated, HR and IT must work quickly to de-provision the personal device off the corporate network, Enders says. This process is much easier if the company owns the device. Another cross-departmental concern arising from BYOD is when a part-time employee or contractor wants to connect their device to the network.

It's likely a company will have to invest in, say, a liaison or some other multi-department communication process to handle BYOD issues.

The High Cost of BYOD

All tallied, BYOD doesn't look pretty from a cost perspective. A typical mobile BYOD environment costs 33 percent more than a well-managed wireless deployment where the company owns the devices, according to Aberdeen.

"Despite all the talk about BYOD being cheaper, that's not what is actually being deployed," Park says.

 

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