When BYOD started gaining popularity, there was a lot of talk about the benefits “choice” would bring. For businesses, these benefits focused on increased productivity and cost savings. Once employees could bring their own devices to work, they’d get their work done faster on a device that was familiar, and businesses would pay less; employers wouldn’t have to buy phones or pay for personal usage.
We’re now seeing that BYOD is struggling to deliver on these promises in many enterprises, especially when it comes to cost control.
Although there are certainly some initial cost savings in BYOD environments, employers are paying more in individual monthly bills than they would with group plans. A recent court ruling has made companies in California legally responsible to pay for voice charges while employees are on the clock. Some of these charges could be from personal use, but it doesn’t really matter. They’ve been ordered to pay a percentage of the bill.
Aberdeen Group’s research shows that companies that buy mobile devices and plans for their employees receive volume-discount rates. They can further optimize these costs by customizing plans for particular usage, depending on the employee. This works out to an average of $60 per month for a voice and data plan for each employee.
In comparison, companies with a BYOD policy reimburse employees an average of $70 per month for their voice and data bills. Add to that certain hidden costs, like filing and processing monthly expense reports which cost about $18 each, and suddenly BYOD companies are paying about $90 a month for every mobile device – 50% higher than the Aberdeen Group’s researched average of $60.
Missing the Other Benefits
When a company is buying hundreds or thousands of smartphones from a service provider, there are some other perks that are thrown into the deal. Namely, free replacements of mobile devices. Service providers who have large clients often do their best to provide timely service and do what they can to keep their customers happy. Services also come at discounted rates when purchased in large contracts.
Employees who use their own devices usually sign up for two-year plans, expecting to upgrade to the latest device when it hits the shelves. As a result, they pay more in service charges than companies pay. And when a personal device is on the fritz, it’s up to the employee to take care of it. This can take time and result in financial losses for the company. The longer a mobile employee is off the grid, the more it can cost a company in time and money. Having an IT department handle the relationship with the service provider can increase service levels and ensure uptime.
In short, companies are paying too much for their BYOD environments when it comes to billing and hidden costs. It’s time to start looking at ways to help BYOD deliver on its cost-saving promises, and accurately divide the expense and responsibilities between employees and employers.