By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
I read a lot of headlines about BYOD (bring your own device) benefits and strategies, but — so far — not many of our readers seem to be putting it to work. I thought it would be interesting to explore why that’s the case among the industries we reach. According to a survey we did in October of 2013, 34 percent of our audience has implemented some form of BYOD strategy, but 65 percent say they wouldn’t even consider doing so (at this point).
In our survey, the number one draw for companies
using or evaluating BYOD was reported as cost
savings. However, an article I read recently on Forbes.com titled "Will BYOD
Save You Money? Probably Not," by Maribel Lopez, pointed out that companies
often end up paying much more than they'd imagined for a BYOD strategy. In
a BYOD scenario, employees expect to be compensated for using their own
device for work purposes. According to the Forbes.com article, the average stipend
provided to employees was around $85 per month. Having a set stipend
is manageable because it's fixed, but the issue with this approach is that usage
varies greatly from employee to employee. The article went on to point out that
when overages occur the company is likely to bear the brunt of those costs. The
idea is that, by the time it's said and done, a BYOD strategy may not save you
as much as you think it will.
On top of the cost side of the equation, it's important to think about
whether or not BYOD really makes sense for what you're looking to accomplish
in the field. Here's what VDC Research had to say about BYOD in our
Field Mobility 2014 report: BYOD is typically viewed as a means to enhance
employee collaboration or communication, with most organizations leveraging
BYOD not looking to deploy sophisticated line-of-business or operational
applications on employee-owned devices. Rather, in scenarios where
the mobile device is central to supporting the enterprise workflow, and the
applications are tightly integrated with back-end systems such as among
field service workers in manufacturing or delivery personnel in distribution
and logistics, there's a critical need for a more centralized approach
to mobile technology deployment.
Security, IT Strain Top BYOD Concerns
The point VDC is making feeds right into the two top concerns our audience
stated it has with BYOD: security (63 percent) and strain on IT (45 percent).
In a line-of-business application, security is paramount, and IT involvement
necessary. There are certainly applications where BYOD can be incredibly valuable.
But in many field scenarios, BYOD can muddy the waters and may end
up causing you more headache than help.