Are tablets the "sweet spot" of NZ BYOD programs?

“IT leaders can spend half a million dollars to buy and support 1,000 enterprise-owned tablets, while they can support 2,745 user-owned tablets with that same budget."

Tablet bring-your-own device (BYOD) programs offer better opportunities for Kiwi businesses than that of enterprise owned-laptops and smartphones.

That's according to new Gartner research, which claims IT departments across New Zealand, and the world, can support nearly three times more users in tablet BYO programs than enterprise-owned tablet programs.

“IT leaders can spend half a million dollars to buy and support 1,000 enterprise-owned tablets, while they can support 2,745 user-owned tablets with that same budget,” says Federica Troni, research director, Gartner.

“Without a stipend, direct costs of user-owned tablets are 64 percent lower.

"When organisations have several users who want a tablet as a device of convenience, offering a BYOD option is the best alternative to limit cost and broaden access.”

Troni believes BYO smartphone programs have a total cost of ownership that is very similar to those of enterprise-owned smartphones, and will only deliver savings when the organisation is in a position to pay partial, or do not reimburse or subsidize for voice and data plans.

This typically reflects a situation where users are not fully entitled to a corporate smartphone but occasionally need one, or want to use one for convenience.

Through 2017, Gartner said that 90 percent of organizations will support some aspect of BYOD. These programs have today different degrees of maturity, but Gartner predicts that by 2018 there will be twice as many employee-owned devices used for work than enterprise-owned devices.

In the design of BYOD programs, organizations need to ensure that they target users who have interest and propensity to use a wider choice of devices for work and feel relatively at easy with technology.

The organisation must also select a primary goal – user satisfaction, cost reduction or mobile expansion. In most cases, multiple goals will be unachievable or will conflict with each other.

“While BYO initiatives for mobile devices can lead to cost savings, it is not always the case,” Troni adds.

“Organisations that are looking to broaden device choices or expand access to mobile technology may spend the same or more under BYOD for organization-owned devices.”

Organisations doing BYOD are very likely to see their infrastructure investments increase, and the level of investment is directly proportional to the success and uptake rate of their programs.

A recent Gartner survey conducted in the first quarter of 2014 amongst 135 IT/business leaders who actively encourage BYOD, found that mobile device management (87 percent), general infrastructure expansion (84 percent) and file share and sync (80 percent) were the three major technologies that drove investments in support of BYO initiatives.

BYO programs also act as catalysts for technologies such as desktop virtualisation, and isolation, as organisations attempt to establish an acceptable level of security and manageability in delivering corporate applications, and data to employee-owned devices.

Establishing the right support structure for BYOD programs is crucial in containing cost for BYOD and taking advantage of the potential cost savings.

Organisations allowing users to bring their own devices to work will have to redefine the boundaries of IT’s responsibility for end-point devices support.

Users will also have to accept responsibility for handling a higher number of support issues related with their own device.

Another cause for the increased costs in BYOD programs compared to corporate devices is due to the difficulty in managing voice and data costs, and setting the appropriate level of reimbursement.

“A balanced mix of enterprise-owned and user-owned devices with different levels of stipends will be the most effective way of capitalizing the benefits of BYOD programs, both in terms of cost reduction and in terms of level of access to mobile technology,” Troni adds.