The debate over whether Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or employer provided devices are more effective for businesses has been raging on for years, with seemingly no winner. However, a new study from Oxford Economics and Samsung, Maximizing Mobile Value: Is BYOD Holding You Back?, shows that employer provided devices are better in the long run due to reduced costs and increased productivity. This begs the question: how effective is BYOD?
According to the study, “companies that provide phones to some or all employees see measurable value in terms of productivity, ease of collaboration, and the ability to get the job done in a timely manner. BYOD respondents report lower satisfaction rates with mobile devices as work tools (69% vs. 78% or more for those who provide devices to a significant portion of their workforce).” The study also found that companies that weren’t exclusively BYOD had increased productivity, as well as operational efficiency.
Companies that exclusively use BYOD policies are typically doing so because of the lower up-front cost of mobile enablement, but they concede that providing some or all employees with devices could be a better long-term deal, according to the study. On the other end of the spectrum, companies that provide phones to all employees are usually smaller in size, making it financially easier to provide devices to everyone. Additionally, there are companies that provide phones to a portion of their employees, while the remaining staff uses their own personal devices. These businesses, particularly the ones that offer devices to at least 20% of their staff, tend to have the most sophisticated mobile usage and strategies.
Those that only use BYOD have difficulty reaping the benefits that come with mobility because this strategy lacks maturity. A sign of this is that only 6% of purely BYOD company employees have access to all core business systems through their mobile device, which makes being productive more difficult for employees. BYOD companies also have increased spending on stipends to cover their employees’ mobile fees, mobile device management solutions, and outsourcing; all of which are ongoing costs. Therefore, BYOD companies aren’t saving as much as they expected. While half of respondents stated that BYOD was the best approach for employee satisfaction, this does not discount the fact that employer provided device policies or hybrid policies are more beneficial to businesses overall.
While having employees bring their own phones has short-term cost benefits, these policies end up becoming more expensive over time, despite the device-distribution policy. Providing devices to some or all employees brings value to companies in many ways. BYOD in and of itself is not an ineffective policy, but organizations must be realistic about what their best mobile device policy really is.
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