Are BYOD firms heading for 'bill shock'?

Are BYOD firms heading for 'bill shock'?

Summary: As mobile device use and flexible working schedules climb, are businesses with BYOD policies heading towards data use bill shock?

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BYOD may save businesses the expense of investing in mobile devices, but unforeseen pitfalls could negate such savings.

iPass has released its Q4 Mobile Workforce Report, suggesting that while businesses are eager to save money where they can in a volatile economic climate, they may not be considering the long-term cost and consequences of implementing bring-your-own-device policies.

While more employees are using their own mobile devices for work, and onnectivity cost is ranked as the least important factor when choosing a mobile network, for businesses without cost control policies in their BYOD plans, this creates a potentially damaging and expensive scenario for firms without caps in place.

"With more workers turning to their smartphones for work, data usage is growing rapidly across multiple devices. As this BYOD trend continues to explode, not just in the U.S. but around the world, enterprises are seeing the effects both in rising productivity and in rising network costs. Employees are using more data with more devices to work longer hours, anytime and anywhere -- and this report shows they're willing to connect with little regard for cost," said Evan Kaplan, chief executive officer at iPass.

"This lack of cost sensitivity has the potential to dramatically impact corporate budgets. In order to gain the business benefits of the proliferation of consumer-driven IT, enterprises must stay in front of the BYOD challenge by providing cost-effective connectivity for mobile workers wherever they roam."

The report shows that employers are less likely to give their staff a smartphone, declining from 58 to 33 percent, based on a survey of of nearly 1,700 mobile workers at 1,100 enterprises around the world. The practice of employees bringing their own device to work has risen by 4 percent, from 42 to 46 percent respectively since 2011.

The research also says that smartphones are becoming the key to the employee universe, ranked behind only keys and wallets in importance. However, this doesn't mean that laptops and tablets are in declining use; instead, iPass says that the more data you use on your smartphone, the more you are going to use on other devices.

The iPhone remains the top smartphone for the enterprise sector, with a 53 percent market share among mobile workers, up 8 percent from 2011. Google's Android enjoys a 34 percent slice of the market, whereas BlackBerry use has declined from 32 percent to 26 percent. The Windows Phone ranks as the last popular, with only 5 percent of mobile workers owning a handset -- although 8 percent of employees said they were planning to purchase one by the end of 2013.

When asked about other mobile devices, 59 percent of workers said they expect tablet use to rise in the coming year, and the iPad remains the dominant enterprise tablet with 54 percent of employees already owning one -- or planning to buy one by the end of next year.

The network of choice for 52 percent of mobile workers is Wi-Fi, but connectivity issues can impact efficiency -- and so 4G/LTE connections, favored by 38 percent, can be relied on more frequently by staff members who have to work on the go. Half of mobile workers complained that finding free Wi-Fi networks was a hinderance, whereas only 33 percent complained of the same issue last year -- which in itself may suggest the rising rate of using BYOD outside of company-provided networks.

The continuing barrage of work email was cited as the top tech distraction for employees, followed by technical problems with their devices. Social media networks including Facebook and Twitter came in third place as a distraction at work.

As flexible, mobile working rises, businesses must have practices in place which either offer roaming for their workers, or a cost-considering cap on data roaming charges. If this is not put in place now, as firms expect their staff to use personal devices for work, they may find themselves expected to foot the bill.

Topics: Data Roaming Charges, Laptops, Mobility, Smartphones, Enterprise 2.0

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14 comments
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  • Just curious

    Why would I want to supply my own phone for work? If they want me to get my emails 24/7, let them pay for the smartphone.
    That will save me hundreds of dollars a year.
    This BYOD idea is nonsense. There will be no need for in in the coming year anyway.
    Susan Antony
    • I've always thought BYOD was nonsense too.

      Security should be at the forefront of the companies mind. BYOD creates problems. Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are a step in the right direction but I don't want to pay retail for a device (BYOD) that my employer doesn't have on it's approved list. I might as well use what they provide but even if you're on their plan and you have a smartphone on a data plan you should respect that they flip the bill. If you're streaming video, downloading apps and playing around all day long this is going to add up over time.
      Rob.sharp
      • BYOD is not nonsense

        BYOD is just a subset of outsourcing.
        the ultimate is when a company in India not only BYOD but provides employees on a per hour basis.
        and then people cry about jobs being outsourced.
        warboat
    • what if

      you got subsidised for BYOD?
      like they paid you an allowance per month for device & connection.
      would you take the money and BYOD under that budget or prefer them to provide device and connection costs?
      This would allow a good compromise for both parties where there is incentive for the employee to minimise bandwidth waste/abuse and benefit for the employer in cost savings and control.
      warboat
  • No Need?

    First off, the BYOD is far from being nonsense. Companies who implement this in the coming years will be able to potentially save thousands of dollars a year. I know that it seems reasonable to a degree for a company to supply a smartphone for an employee, but look at it this way. If the company is constantly supplying smartphones to a particular department within a company, the cost of those smartphones is going to come out of the budgeted amount that is allocated to that department, which will then lessen that departments ability to spend that budget on other necessities.

    No need for "in in" the coming year? check your facts and your spelling before posting
    Boushe9849
    • Not really

      Your not really going to save money. Not if you decide to do a stipend. You also have to figure support costs and if you want any level of management another MDM or MAM solution licenses and servers. We've been running a BYOD program for almost two years and try to stay cost neutral.

      The reality is 98% of employees have no interest for a variety of reasons but the ones I hear about all the time:

      - Privacy concerns
      - Security enforced on device
      - Lack of stipend = more expense shifted onto employee

      The nirvana of one device for both personal and work comes with compromises and most employees decide in the end it's better to use seperate devices.

      I've seen countless people in the program get nailed with huge data and roaming costs. BYOD only works if you stay local and have limited email and PIM usage. You also have issues with broken devices and once your outside our corporate mobile contracts you're basically on your own.
      MobileAdmin
    • Not really

      "If the company is constantly supplying smartphones to a particular department within a company, the cost of those smartphones is going to come out of the budgeted amount that is allocated to that department, which will then lessen that departments ability to spend that budget on other necessities."

      Then the budget calculation/allocation is wrong.
      Little Old Man
  • words

    "and onnectivity cost is ranked " (connectivity?) "ranks as the last popular, " (least). You need to proofread your post or have it done by someone else.

    As for BYOP we have a stipend for those who use their phones for business, it covers some of the costs. There are restrictions on connecting your phone to the company computer as well. (Many will connect it for charging purposes only.) For security puposes it is not to be used as a flashdrive, for instance.
    Some of the managers have been issued an iPad for remote connectivity, possibly for use in meetings--presentations etc.
    Maybe a contract that doesn't charge for roaming would be a better way to control costs. Of course, that may put the company back into the phone leasing business.
    As far as I know, no personal computers are allowed access to the network.
    dhays
  • BYOD?!?!?!

    Those still working are getting hosed down by the COMPANY already.
    If the business requires you to use it, they should pay for it.
    My employer doesn't pay for the device anymore and they tried not pay for the service.
    I explained no pay, no use! It's mine, not yours. No really time contact without it, and that's bad for computer support tech.
    They still pay the service, without paying, they wouldn't get my new number, ha, ha, ha!
    Foreseen
  • One good reason not to BYOD

    Many companies will allow or encourage you to bring your own device. However, many of those companies insist that, since their data is on your device, they have a right to secure that data. In most cases, this means that your cell phone, tablet, etc. is subject to company inspection and control at any time. And, when you terminate with that company, they have the right to wipe any company data from your device.

    My wife works for a company with such policies. Even thought she admits she could use it, She refuses to take her iPad to use at her work because of these requirements. Her company can demand access to her device at any time and, in addition to company data, see everything else that is on the device.

    Do you want that?

    Have a nice day,

    Doc
    Doc.Savage
    • My company started a BYOD program

      To use it you have to give the company the ability to remotely wipe your device and the right to scan what ever is in your device at any time.

      So, the program only has a very small number of users ... most of them interns and newbies out of college ... because the experience people know better than to give up privacy and $$$ in exchange for (really) nothing.
      wackoae
  • I Hate This BYOD Stuff

    In the 90s I was building test networks at home because our company couldn't afford to, and to be honest, I learned one heck of a lot tying the home network with our work environment, studying Notes, etc., but after about $25k it was just plain stupid. I would have been better off to go to a job that supplied proper training.

    When it comes down to it, and in my new guise as musician/recording studio owner, is like paying to play when the idea is to make money playing. This has been an on-going effort in all industries to cut costs to the company, such as pumping your own gas or checking your own groceries and bagging them.

    Somehow this has got to stop because the majority of us are already footing the cost of business in almost every aspect. We're asking to be taken advantage of.
    RWNorman
  • BYOD is poo-poo

    I love some of the subtle and not so subtle preconceptions are included in so many of these replies. "Most end up with separate devices..." unstated that the employee has to pay for. "Our company issued iPads to some in management..." That's right "issue" devices to those who can most afford it and make those of a lesser rank buy their own.
    I have still not heard anything about pollicies that answer such question as who really controls the device, who is responsible for the long term contract if the employee' employment is ended. In fact why not expand this BYOD bull by making people bring in their own computers, copiers, faxes, network cables, telephones, pencils and pens, paper. BYOD will create more trouble than it is worth financially with support, regulation, enforcement, and employee unhappiness. BYOD is another dorky, shortsighted idea that will not achieve the desired outcome.
    MikeBytes@...
  • BYOD not mandatory

    In our organization, the impotus driving BYOD is on the employee side. The company issues cell or smart phones to those it requires to be available (as it should be), but people bring their devices in WANTING to connect, primarily to mail, calendar, and contacts. All of the security issues still exist, but because it's employee-driven, the dynamic is different. If the employee wants to access company information, they have to play by the rules.
    Rick Johnson