Ways to Curb the Costs from BYOD
February 25, 2013
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
Bring your own device (BYOD) is a reality for most businesses; Gartner (News - Alert) reports that roughly 70 percent of IT organizations are either supporting BYOD or plan to support it in the next 12 months, according to a whitepaper by telecom expense management firm, Telesoft.
Yet, while cost savings is one of the reasons most cited for BYOD programs, such gains might not be as durable as IT managers anticipate.
“Cost savings from reduced corporate procurement may be fleeting,” noted the paper by Telesoft. “Many enterprises are able to negotiate deep discounts for telecom services, more favorable plans with pooling of voice/data services, and subsidized devices at no cost.”
Further, benefits from scale are lost if employees do not use similar devices or the same operating system, and employee best practices cannot always be shared when it comes to device usage and applications.
And while having employees manage their own devices is part of the appeal, in practice this doesn’t always happen; IT departments are sometimes left troubleshooting a wide range of devices, which further adds costs.
“Organizations have worked very hard over the past 10 years to get their mobile expenses under control and reduce them wherever possible,” noted Thierry Zerbib, CEO and co-founder of Telesoft, in a statement. “BYOD opens the doors for these expenses to again run rampant and it’s important the enterprise has solutions in place to provide visibility and protect that from happening.”
One key is making sure that an official BYOD policy is in place before allowing employees to use personal devices for work, noted the paper. It needs to define who is allowed to participate, what sort of stipend they will receive to cover monthly expenses, if any, and both employee rights and responsibilities.
Firms that let employees use expense reports for mobile charges may wish to provide system feeds of the mobile charges that are submitted on expense reports to their telecom expense management provider.
“This will enable managers to gain visibility into the costs and compare trends for the charges before and after transitioning to a BYOD program,” noted the paper.
Another approach for managing BYOD expenses is through a monthly stipend instead of direct reimbursement through expense reporting.
“This approach enables organizations to establish a budget with a predictable monthly expense for charges, while allowing employers to place responsibility of managing expenses on employees,” according to the paper.
Further, “with a monthly stipend, it is less likely that managers and employees will be able to rationalize requests for reimbursement of unexpectedly large bills for mobile services in an expense report.”
While there still are reasons for a BYOD program, including letting employees use software they already know, and providing increased telecom nimbleness, employers should not expect dramatic cost savings.
But with a thoughtful BYOD program, companies can at least avoid runaway expenses.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey