BYOD: Paying the big price of small things

While it may seem that we’ve all discussed the heck out of the pros and cons of BYOD and its cost effectiveness, the fact is, technology is changing so fast, it’s nearly impossible monitor. As a CIO, you may not be dealing with the day-to-day mobility issues, but when it comes to budgeting, spending forecasts (or justification?), it ultimately falls on you.

Your organization may provide employees with mobile phones and tablets, stacked with enterprise apps and unlimited data usage, or perhaps they buy their own phones and you foot the bill for the enterprise carrier costs. There are the usual costs, such as the devices themselves, the corporate plan, and enterprise mobile apps. And it’s a given that your employees will add their own apps, whether the phone is corporate-issued or not.

But don’t forget the smaller (so it seems) hidden costs, the ones that may go unnoticed for months but suddenly come around when budgeting, forecasting or auditing takes place. These “hidden” costs can be as simple as a rogue spam text that 100 or more employees are receiving, and unbeknownst to you (or them) the company is getting charged $9.99/month or more for the “Happy Thoughts of the Day” texts or maybe others that aren’t in such good taste. Do the math – the monthly charge multiplied by the number of employees receiving the texts adds up. Worse yet, the texts are impossible to unsubscribe to, so employees just ignore and delete them. After all, the employee doesn’t see the bill and assumes the company has unlimited text plans or that someone in IT will deal with it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Then there’s the upcoming iPhone 6 that employees are convinced they must have. Who cares of they only use 20% of the capabilities of their recently purchased iPhone 5 or finally upgraded to iOS 7 only a week ago (and don’t know how to use it) – the fact is, there is a new phone available, and they want it. Who actually gets to upgrade, if it’s a corporate-issued phone, and if not, what are the costs incurred with BYOD? Is there a set upgrade schedule? Who can upgrade, when? Most importantly , who is monitoring all of this, and is it cost effective?

Details, details. We like to assume that our company has checks and balances for such issues – big and small — but the reality is we get caught up in the big-ticket items such as MDM, cloud storage, etc. – and the smaller things are what get us tripped up when it comes to costs. Knowing the fine details of factors such as enterprise carrier plans and as well as having someone on staff who monitors mobile usage and policies will hopefully help save a money in the long run — and spare any blame.

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