BYOD Myths: Cost Savings, Productivity Gains, Less Headaches

Mobi Wireless Management's Brandon Hampton advises Fortune 100 companies transitioning from corporate-owned devices to bring-your-own devices, or BYOD — and in this Q&A with you'll be surprised at what he tells them.

Wed, April 11, 2012

CIO — A few years ago, corner-office executives shucked their company-owned BlackBerry smartphones in favor of personally owned iPhones, and then demanded IT support them. Thus began the great march toward BYOD, or bring-your-own-device.

CIOs don't like to admit caving to executive whims, and so they've devised a recipe of BYOD benefits. But are they myths?

Mobi's Brandon Hampton

Chief among the BYOD benefits is cost savings. BYOD, the thinking goes, gets companies out of the hardware purchasing business and wireless management and support cycle. Another often cited benefit is that BYOD leads to employee productivity gains.

I spoke with Brandon Hampton, a founding director of Mobi Wireless Management, a software and services provider advising Fortune 100 companies on wireless strategies, for insights into the realities and myths behind BYOD.

Are companies saving money with BYOD?

Hampton: A lot of times companies jump into BYOD for two reasons: reduce the burden on their IT staff or shift some of the cost burden to the end user.

I agree with your article (BYOD: If You Think You're Saving Money, Think Again). In a lot of cases, there are not cost savings. It just depends on what you do.

Typically, companies are going to issue some kind of stipend when they go to BYOD. There's probably some cost savings if the stipend is small enough, or if there's no stipend at all. But if you think that's really going to reduce your costs, I think you're mistaken.

I've also heard companies say that they want to get out of the cell phone business. Unfortunately, the problem is that BYOD has a lot of security needs and requires mobile device management.

Then there are more and more third-party apps to enhance the productivity of their mobile employees. Now you've got to support, deploy, update and troubleshoot these applications. People are still going to be calling you about these issues, not the wireless carrier.

You're not getting out of the cell phone business, no matter what you think. It's pretty unrealistic.

One CIO told me his sales team reaps productivity gains with iPads in the form of new sales, although their iPads are not under a BYOD program. Can BYOD lead to an increase in worker productivity?

Hampton: It makes a lot of sense in some situations. If you've got an old-school environment with a lot of BlackBerrys yet users are bringing their own iPhones and want to carry only one device instead of two, there could be some uptick in productivity.

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