The Right Strategy Can Help Manage Cost of BYOD

By Ralph Shaw, iSimplyConnect — August 02, 2012

Remember the days when only the executive suite had mobile devices? Or when companies had a "BlackBerry-only" policy? Now, BYOD has swept across the corporate world, with little regard to whether or not IT is on board.

And while IT comes to grips with management and security issues, they may realize that mobility is eating up the IT budget. With new devices, data plans, apps and software, what is the true cost of BYOD?

Having worked alongside companies of all sizes and across many industries to define mobile strategies and policies, I’ve been able to identify constant threads that drive successful enterprise mobility, and found that IT's traditional role and financial responsibilities are quickly becoming intertwined. Here's a few best practices based on my experience developing mobile policies to avoid pitfalls that often translate to increased IT expenses.

Invest in technology that has long term benefit.
With the rapid evolution of technology, it's difficult to differentiate what's going to thrive and what's merely a fad. Keep tabs on the market and don't let the pressures of competitors or even employees overly influence your decisions. Investments into costly, complex hardware and software don't always make sense when there's a question of obsoleteness in a few years. There are options that'll get the trick done without the hefty price tag. For example, look for pay-as-you-go solutions. Whichever way you go, be sure to align technology investments with overall business strategy, including future growth and direction.

Achieve scalability across all processes and solutions.
The bottom line is that enterprise mobility strategies need to be flexible. Mobility is growing and becoming more complex, and, even when all employees are wirelessly connected to your network, your job isn't done. New devices are hitting the market more frequently than ever, not only with new versions (like the latest iPad), but also with the introduction of new form factors (like Microsoft Surface). Ensure your company is practicing scalability internally and also externally when working with vendors and third parties.

Develop usage policies
.
The beauty of mobility is that the business network can be made available to employees anytime, anywhere - offsite meetings, working from home or globally. But that last place is often a source of devastating overage charges. International use of mobile devices doesn't have to cost your company tons with the help of effective usage policies. Perhaps checking email and voice calling are okay, but streaming data and SMS are not permitted. Whatever it may be, be sure to clearly define, communicate and enforce policies.

Optimize data plans.
Dealing with wireless providers can be tricky, particularly if you're enrolling and managing business users. Typically, plans are not set up to benefit businesses (although new shared data plans are getting us there). Take control over plans by carefully monitoring bills and charges, and don't be afraid to negotiate. Knowing usage trends among employees will help alleviate a surplus from over-estimated usage or overage charges from under-estimation.

It's no longer a matter of fearing BYOD. Rather, embrace it; know the vast facets it encompasses and include all areas into mobile strategies. Short-term strategies simply won't cut it; we’re in it for the long-haul, after all.

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