In the past decade, organizations have jumped on a bandwagon by letting their employees bring their own devices to their workplace and access company-issued servers remotely.
Now, these organizations all struggle with the BYOD vs. dedicated devices dilemma upon defining their enterprise mobility programs. Some fear of missing out on a trend that can help them become more agile. Others carefully weigh in the risk that comes along with adopting BYOD-centric policies. So, who’s right? Here are a few leads that can help companies make the right business decision.
BYOD Can Help Some Organizations Become More Agile
In the past five years, the BYOD and enterprise mobility market has grown at a double-digit rate and is now expected to grow sixfold from 2012, to reach over $300bn by 2022 (Crystal Market Research data). Companies adopting BYOD-centric policies try to reconcile two trends: the need for more agility on their end, and the need for more flexibility on their employees’ end.
And on paper, bring-your-own-device programs help organizations become more agile and create efficiencies for companies and employees alike:
- Productivity gains for companies resulting from shortened learning curves and reduced time spent juggling with new company-issued applications or devices;
- Flexibility for employees who can interchangeably work remotely or within the organization, with minimal adjustments;
- Efficiencies in capital spending and operations spending for companies who can share the cost of hardware and software investment with their employees. According to Cisco IBSG -one of the top BYOD market players- some organizations can save up to $1,300 per employee per year.
In that regard, bring-your-own-device policies work well in industries that lean on:
- White-collar employees who can afford high-end personal smartphones and have no trouble juggling with their personal device for both personal and work-related matters.
BYOD: A Business Case that Still Needs to Be Built
Nonetheless, and despite an anticipated 15% compound annual growth rate in 2017 and onwards (Crystal Market Research data), BYOD is not a silver bullet that can sunset dedicated devices just yet. Indeed, BYOD programs bring along an array of key issues ranging from fragmentation, to data integrity, to deployment-related mishaps, which all can stall an organization’s operations.
Why BYOD is not a Silver Bullet
First BYOD-related downside: device and mobile operating system (OS) fragmentation. Some employees use iOS, others use Android-based or Windows-based phones. Android-based phones, specifically, increase fragmentation-related challenges as each mobile phone manufacturer tweaks the basic Android OS version to suit their needs.
IT managers handling BYOD programs have to ensure their organization can withstand a myriad of networks, devices, and operating systems upon deployment. The latter can infer costly mishaps if companies haven’t braced themselves for deployment.
Security & Data
Second downside of BYOD: Security safeguards become more complex. An organization who wants to deploy company-wide security patches or control remote server-access protocols has to factor in multiple devices, networks, OS versions within their fleet of mobile devices. In this new framework, over-the-air mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) programs become costlier.
Strongly tied to that is the heightened risk of data leakage and security breach that BYOD policies carry along, since employee-issued devices are being used to handle sensitive, privileged corporate data.
Last but not least: User adoption is not a given in BYOD policies. In many industries, employee resistance to BYOD cannot be overlooked, especially in industries that rely on a:
- Low-qualified workforce.
These industries, such as fieldwork, facility management services are more prone to higher turnover rates, thus lower employee engagement and retention. In these settings, BYOD policies become irrelevant.
For economic efficiency purposes, organizations who lean on fieldwork and face high turnover rates should consider dedicated devices rather than BYOD policies. Dedicated devices come in handy as:
- They have a “plug and play” feel for employees;
- They are easy to transfer from one employee to the other;
- They work within dedicated OTA mobile device management softwares;
- They have no market value;
- They make employee attendance and performance easier to track overtime.
In that regard, FAMOCO’s Android-based, dedicated device solutions for small, medium, and enterprise-level organizations alike will prove efficient in tracking performance costs, while also creating agility.