The BYOD trend was one of the most talked about subjects in IT last year and the popularity of the movement shows no signs of diminishing in 2014. However, many businesses are concerned about the potential cost implications of allowing staff to use their own devices. Here are eight top tips for implementing your BYOD programme cost effectively.
- Establish A Clear BYOD Policy
Whether you plan to implement a basic or comprehensive BYOD strategy, it’s critical to establish clear policies from the outset. There are numerous financial questions that need to be considered in the process of setting your policy.
Will you provide stipends to employees for purchasing mobile devices of their choice? Will you cap mobile usage allowance? What level of technical support will you provide? How will you repair and replace faulty devices? A poorly constructed BYOD policy which doesn’t address these questions could lead to spiralling costs further down the line.
- Choose The Right Management Strategy
Choosing the right implementation partner is the next most important step for preventing the costs of your BYOD programme from escalating in the future. A good implementation partner will organise the set-up and management of security, software and staff access; ensuring a seamless experience of access across devices whilst enabling managers to remotely remove business data when required or instigate hardware lockdown in the event of the loss or theft of tablets, laptops and phones.
However, the key to keeping the costs of your BYOD program in check is through your approach to asset management. The downtime created by hardware failure can be very costly for businesses; so consideration should be given to the outsourcing of your hardware and software support to organisations that specialise in this field. For companies employing field based workers or staff who require off-premises access to data, this is especially important.
- Consider A BYOD Environment
Research conducted by Cisco found that organisations which fully embrace BYOD are able to save up to £1370 per employee, per year in the UK, compared to just £245 for companies who implement a basic BYOD policy. Cisco’s research also found enormous productivity gains from engaged workers who are happier using their own choice of devices. The full report is available in PDF format here.
- Streamline Your Tech Support Costs
Another key benefit for businesses adopting a comprehensive BYOD environment is the opportunity to streamline your tech support costs. A noted example of success on this front is detailed by VMware CIO, Mark Egan, who found £1.2m ($2m) in savings, in part through limiting the amount of support available for employee owned devices and placing the onus on staff to troubleshoot glitches.
Provision of community support, wikis and forums can also be a cost effective way to reduce tech support costs whilst enabling staff to find answers to issues affecting various brands and devices.
- Establish A Stipend For Mobile Usage
Further cost savings can be made by establishing clear guidelines on mobile phone usage and setting allowance tiers for different groups of staff. Clearly, sales and field based workers will require a higher usage allowance to back office staff. Consider revoking mobile allowance to staff who have little legitimate requirement for a business phone.
- Don’t Provide A Stipend For Mobile Devices
Although you will need to consider the provision of temporary backup phones and laptops, another way to keep the costs of your BYOD program is down is by placing the responsibility on your staff to ultimately replace their own chosen items in the event of faults, loss or theft.
- Accommodate As Many Devices As Possible
Allowing your employees to use whichever device they prefer to conduct their work has been proven to increase productivity and inspire engagement and innovation in employees; ultimately leading to greater financial performance for businesses. Again, a good implementation partner will be able to offer advice from the outset on support available for devices.
- Ensure A Seamless Experience For Staff
To gain fully from increased staff productivity, however, it’s important to ensure a seamless experience of access to software across all devices. Your implementation partner should be able to flag issues with devices that are not well supported, enabling you to decide early on whether or not to exclude certain technology from your program.
With the growing trend for BYOD showing no signs of abating, organisations considering basic or comprehensive BYOD programs need to give clear thought to policy and implementation to avoid costs from escalating.