Bring Your Own Device has all the hallmarks of a populist movement – it’s an intuitive, easily-grasped concept; it has intrinsic appeal to the Generation Y; and it resonates with our device-happy world. But on more rationale grounds, why should companies go down the BYOD route? One compelling rationale might appear to be the prospect of significant cost savings. With organizations no longer having to provide its people with computing devices or related software, it would seem fair to assume that BYOD might offer a cost advantage. However, what we found revealed a completely different picture – BYOD does not offer significant cost savings. Far from it, in fact.

We decided to try and analyze what true impact BYOD had on company expenditure. Our initial analysis revealed that while the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  in a BYOD arrangement is 9.7% lower than that of a standard model, this analysis does not include all of the additional cost factors that can occur in organizations.  BYOD has many additional cost factors – software redevelopment, support for multiple mobile platforms, application testing and migration, building wireless and virtual private network infrastructure and compliance management.

Not only do these hidden costs add up, you need to remember that as the number of devices and users increases, the investment climbs further. Consider this: when 600 workers jumped on their tech company’s new “Bring Your Own Device” Smartphone program, expenses went through the roof: collectively $300,000 over budget in the first year! And those are numbers for just 600 employees.

Another analysis of organizations across North America revealed startling results – only 9% of these organizations were able to cut their expenses through BYOD. And, a whopping 67% saw no difference at all in expenses!

Clearly, at the moment, the rationale for BYOD is not going to be found in a significant cost saving advantage. So, should companies still invest in it? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. The real benefits of BYOD lie elsewhere, not on the cost side. It’s all about productivity and employee satisfaction. A survey conducted by the Telecom Industry Association in North America reported that 19% of businesses saw BYOD as a way to keep employees happy. Even though they never paid for device or service plans, Cisco saw employee satisfaction levels rise by 33% once they allowed employees to start using their personal Smartphones and tablets.

 Employees don’t want to feel shackled when using personal devices at work. They want freedom and companies realize this is the key to employee satisfaction. VMWare recently conducted a survey in India and found that 77% of employees brought their own Smartphones and tablets to work. Out of these, 72% claimed to be more productive while 70% claimed they were happier in their role when they were allowed to work on their own devices – 66% even claimed they felt less stressed out when they could choose their own IT tools.

When employees have the freedom to use their personal Smartphones and tablets to access the corporate network, they are more likely to work beyond conventional work hours. A survey among mobile workers worldwide showed that workers who use mobile devices for both work and personal purposes put in 240 more hours per year than those who do not. Taking into account an average of 250 working days in a year, this translates to an additional hour of work every single day, over and above the required number of working hours. For organizations, this spike in productivity can be tempting – especially when there are no device or hardware investments.

Despite all these compelling merits, BYOD is not without its  own issues- security risks, increased costs, and operational bottlenecks. That’s why it is important to have a foolproof implementation strategy. When implemented the right way, BYOD can bring innovation and benefits to an organization and its people,  even if it’s not the flavor of the month for the company’s cost-cutters!  If you’d like to understand more about creating this effective roadmap for BYOD implementation, please read our paper: “Bring Your Own Device: It’s all about Employee Satisfaction and Productivity, not Costs!