Study: Don’t Count on BYOD Cost Savings

Measuring possible increases in worker productivity from BYOD policies is difficult, according to a new study. And organizations allowing employees to use their own devices should keep costs in mind.

Determining the ROI of the bring-your-own device (BYOD) trend is not as straightforward as you might think.

To the untrained observer, the concept of BYOD is simple: Bring in consumer devices and save money.

Despite research indicating that  worker productivity increases [PDF] as a result of BYOD, a new study from Nucleus Research has found that it’s difficult to measure these gains, which are often touted as one of the greatest benefits of the trend.

“To the untrained observer, the concept of BYOD is simple: Bring in consumer devices and save money,” study author Hyoun Park wrote in “Understanding the Hard ROI of BYOD.” “However, this is often based on the incorrect assumption that device costs constitute a significant portion of enterprise mobility spend.”

Savings from employee-owned devices usually ring in at around 10 percent of a company’s annual mobility expenditures, the study found, but the costs associated with BYOD (voice and data plans, mobile developer costs, and the cost of mobile management software) can actually end up increasing an organization’s mobile expenses.

To measure the ROI of BYOD, the researchers recommended that companies do a cost-benefit analysis in six areas: the cost of devices, voice and data costs, helpdesk costs, mobile developer expenses, mobility management software costs, and productivity gained. For example, organizations can lose money if they reimburse employees individually for smartphone plans in lieu of using corporate bundle options.

Ultimately, the real costs and benefits of BYOD will depend on the types of policies individual organizations create.

“Many believe [BYOD] will cut costs, and it might, but that should not be the primary goal,” said Chris Jenkins, chief technology strategist at the Ohio Society of CPAs, in a recent interview in Associations Now. “Like any other function of technology, [BYOD] has costs and benefits. Take some time, make BYOD a priority, and plan it out. With proper planning, you’ll maintain a reasonable expense and offer excellent ROI.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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