While smartphones have become increasingly critical to workforce productivity and flexibility over the past two years, most businesses continue to take a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, rather than providing smartphones to their employees. But a new study from Samsung and Oxford Economics has found that BYOD may be costing businesses in the long-run—reducing their business agility, undermining data security, and negatively impacting revenue growth and employee turnover.
As part of the Maximizing Mobile Value study, Oxford Economics surveyed 500 U.S. executives and 1,000 U.S. employees at small- and mid-sized businesses to better understand how mobile technologies support the workforce. The study found that while smartphones are viewed as essential to worker productivity, just 15 percent of businesses surveyed provide phones to all of their employees. Asked why they were not providing smartphones, 95 percent cited cost as a significant factor.
However, when estimating the actual investment in supporting smartphones, the study found that BYOD is saving businesses far less than they believe it is. In particular, companies taking a BYOD approach paid an average stipend of $40.20 per month to compensate employees for the use of their personal phones for work, while the cost of mobile service plans for companies issuing smartphones to employees averaged $42 per month.
When considering the upfront cost of devices, management overheads, and software, BYOD saved businesses just $340 per employee per year on average, but at the same time it hampered their ability to leverage mobile to boost productivity and transform workflows.
“Executives understand that they are not getting the most out of smartphones, but many puzzle over how to do so,” said Teri Robinson, Managing Editor of Technology at Oxford Economics. “Our research shows organizations that have more mature mobile policies in place are better positioned to manage the future of work, increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and remain competitive.”
“We think businesses need to look at mobile devices and applications as a driver of productivity and business transformation, not as a cost to be avoided,” said Chris Balcik, Head of Mobile B2B, Samsung Electronics America. “When mobile is harnessed effectively, employees can collaborate more effectively wherever they are, access critical business data securely, feel more empowered, and integrate life and work for greater flexibility and productivity.”
BYOD’s impact on business agility and growth
The Maximizing Mobile Value study uncovered significant disparities in workforce productivity, mobile maturity and even broader business fundamentals between companies adopting a BYOD approach and those issuing devices to some or all employees.
34% of companies taking a BYOD approach believe they are lagging when it comes to mobile maturity, more than double the rate for organizations that issue smartphones to some or all employees
BYOD organizations deploy fewer business apps (5.1 to 7.9), and feel smartphones are less critical to “agility and speed of decision-making” (56 percent to 63 percent) and play a lesser role in delivering “customer service and satisfaction” (48 percent to 55 percent)
BYOD companies are also leaving mobile data and apps unprotected: just 40 percent of have mobile device management (MDM) tools in place, compared to 93 percent for organizations who issue devices to all employees
Finally, issuing smartphones to employees correlates to higher growth and lower employee turnover rates. For organizations that issue smartphones, 53 percent report growth of 5 percent or more in the past three years, compared to 45 percent for BYOD companies. They were also more likely to have an annual turnover rate of below 10 percent — 51 percent compared to 37 percent for BYOD organizations.
To help businesses better understand their total investment in employee mobility, Samsung has created a Mobile Cost Calculator that draws upon industry benchmarks from the study. Businesses can input their current costs and compare them to those of other organizations of a similar size and industry. For a deeper look at the true costs of BYOD, download the Maximizing Mobile Value study.
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