Cisco: BYOD Makes Financial Sense for Companies, Employees

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Print this article Print

A Cisco survey indicates that organizations with comprehensive BYOD plans can gain more than $1,000 per mobile employee every year.

According to Cisco's study, this year there will be 198 million BYOD devices in the six countries covered—the United States, the U.K., Germany, China, Brazil and India. By 2016, that number will balloon to 405 million, with 1.3 BYOD devices per person.

Those employees say BYOD enables them to get more work done and to create a better work-life balance. Many in the survey also said they use their own devices because they need them for work, and their company doesn't supply them. And they're willing to pay for the privilege: Employees who use their own devices pay an average of $965 per year for them, plus another $734 for a data plan. Eighty-one percent use smartphones, another 56 percent use laptops, and 37 percent use their own laptops.

Across the six countries in the survey, employees gained an average of 37 extra minutes per week using their own devices, with the United States having the highest average at 81 minutes, and Germany the lowest, at four minutes. Those gains came through such factors as greater efficiency, new ways to work and better collaboration, though downtime and distractions were drags, Loucks said.

For organizations, the challenge is developing an implementation plan that will return the biggest benefits, he said. Eighty-nine percent of organizations now allow workers to use their own devices for work, but most companies take a more reactive approach—enabling basic BYOD as demanded and looking to push back at the trend or contain it. That has helped to some extent. In the United States, organizations that use the reactive approach can see $950 in value annually for each mobile employee, according to Cisco's numbers.

That figure jumps to $3,150 for each mobile employee in an organization that creates what Loucks called a comprehensive plan for BYOD. That means being proactive in developing such capabilities as being able to monitor and remotely wipe corporate data from the mobile devices, to automatically enforce corporate BYOD policies, to enable employees to move seamlessly between networks and to offer collaboration tools that can be used on all devices.

Given the possible savings, implementing a comprehensive BYOD plan will quickly pay for itself, Loucks said. There are costs to implementing a strategic BYOD plan, he said, "but if you can make it cost-effective, it really becomes a question of 'why not?'"