The days of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are seemingly over. A new study reveals that the once popular practice of having employee-owned devices within a business has proven to not be as great in the long term. Conducted with senior executives across the U.S., Samsung Electronics America commissioned the study alongside Oxford Economies, an independent third party research firm, the study shines light on the economic realities of enterprise mobility.
“When smartphones first began to show their potential as business tools, we saw a wave of organizations jump on board with BYOD policies, encouraged by the promise of cost savings and employee satisfaction,” said Erin McCarty, Vice President, Mobile B2B Product Marketing, Samsung Electronics America. “Now, with some time and understanding of the long-term costs and complexities of the BYOD model, we are seeing the pendulum swing the other way. Not only are many organizations looking again at providing employees with work smartphones, those that do invest proactively are realizing tremendous value from greater device management, customization, and enterprise applications.”
Among the key findings of the study, researchers found that modern work is nearly synonymous with mobile work. Nearly 80 percent of the survey respondents said that they feel employees cannot do their jobs efficiently without a mobile phone, and three-quarters of this percent say that mobile devices are essential to workflow.
For now BYOB still remains pretty popular and is the preferred practice for most organizations, especially small businesses. However, researchers say that organizations are actively looking towards transitioning to enterprise mobile assets that support employee costs.
Of the companies surveyed for the study, only 17 percent of organizations provide mobile phones to all employees, with the remainder providing them to some employees (52 percent) or relying entirely on BYOD (31 percent). While a growing number of companies with BYOD policies in place are paying a portion or even all of their employees’ mobile service costs, management and support costs more than device acquisition itself – which is likely why BYOD is a widely preferred practice.
Most BYOD policies maintain device management programs to ensure data security and employee productivity. Management overheads (including IT administrators, third-party service providers, and software licenses) can add 25 percent to 40 percent of the overall cost of enterprise mobile programs, depending on company size and other factors. Different goals shape different approaches. Companies that prioritize the effectiveness of mobile workflows and applications are more likely to provide devices to all employees (65 percent): cost, security, and corporate culture are other motivations behind the device policy choice.
However, many may not understand which mobile enablement strategy is best for their needs. Strategic value takes investment. Companies that provide phones to some or all employees see measurable value in terms of productivity, ease of collaboration, and the ability to get a job done in a timely manner. BYOD respondents report lower satisfaction rates with their mobile devices when used as work tools (69 percent vs. 78 percent or more for those at companies that provide devices to a significant portion of their workforce). The right mix of BYOD and employer-provided phones is a marker of maturity. Those who provide mobile phones to more than 20% of employees tend to have the most mature mobile enablement strategies, in terms of their management policies and mobile workflows; they also report the most value from their mobile policies.
“If mobility is a strategic goal, then it makes sense to look beyond one-time cost considerations to longer-term investments and value,” says Adrianna Gregory, Assistant Managing Editor at Oxford Economics. “The truth is that if mobile devices are required for many jobs, executives should adjust to the new reality.”
The most efficient companies have streamlined their processes by providing their employees with company-issued IT assets. This way, all intellectual property can be tracked, the employee can protect the data with the latest company-issued antivirus software, and the chances of an employee using the device for illicit reasons are minimized.