Is BYOD blowing up your IT budget?

Enterprises implement BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs for a number of reasons, usually starting with a desire to make employees more productive and happy.

Some enterprises, however, also are attracted to the notion of saving money through BYOD. After all, if the organization doesn’t have to pay for all those smartphones and tablets, it can save money that can be allocated toward other priorities.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

A new survey by Syntonic and Information Solutions Group of more than 400 C-level executives shows that U.S. enterprises overspend more than $2.6 billion annually in BYOD reimbursements.

Nearly seven in 10 (69%) of enterprises reimburse employees for using their personal mobile devices for work, with an average monthly payment of $71.40 per employee (typically made through stipends or in response to expense reports). The main motivation for reimbursing employees for BYOD is to “keep employees happy” (60%), followed by attracting potential employees (43%) and remaining in compliance with evolving BYOD laws that require reimbursing workers who use their personal smartphones for their jobs (36%).

The vast majority of enterprises (87%) “are dependent to some extent on their employees’ ability to access mobile business apps” from their devices. On average, enterprise employees use their mobile devices 6.7 hours per week for work-related activities away from the office or during non-work hours.

And those numbers are expected to go up: More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) said they anticipate personal smartphone use for work purposes to increase over the next six to 12 months.

While nearly one-quarter of respondents (24%) said they were accurately calculating reimbursement amounts, more than 70% said they were over-reimbursing BYOD employees:

  • 34% said they overpay by $100 to $499 per employee annually
  • 26% overpay by less than $100 per employee annually
  • 10% estimated annual overpayments of $500 to $999
  • 1% said they overcompensate BYOD employees by more than $1,000 annually (!)

The danger for enterprises that overcompensate BYOD workers is that the CEO or CFO will kill the program or add restrictions that effectively kill it. That would be a disaster in enterprises where BYOD employees are 1) using their devices to be more productive and help the organization achieve business goals, and 2) happy about using their own devices.

Blowing up BYOD could have severe and unintended consequences. Whether the solution is different software, a different reimbursement system or simply better estimates, enterprises are better off trying to make BYOD work within a realistic budget.


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