In the IT community, we’re big on acronyms. One that has gotten significant attention in the past few years in BYOD, which is short for “Bring Your Own Device.”
The phrase (not to be confused with BYOB) is a term for businesses who allow their employees to use their own electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets in the workplace and off the job to access company networks and files. Intel, one of the biggest and oldest players in the IT marketplace first coined the term back in 2009, when they realized that many of their employees preferred to use their own mobile phones instead of a company issued device.
The idea of having employees use their own personal devices for work purposes soon caught on, and for a variety of reasons including:
It’s More Economical
Purchasing and maintaining portable devices for multiple employees is a costly endeavor. Say a small business that has roughly 40 employees decides that each staff member needs their own tablet to work from. The cost of one tablet alone is $250. This means that the company will need to take $10,000 out of their IT budget to provide tablets to all of their employees. Mobile devices are not designed for longevity as new versions usually are released every year (If not every other year), which makes the “older” models obsolete in a short matter of time. This means that the company will have to set aside at least $10,000 every two years or so to update employee’s devices. Over time, this can get very expensive.
Allowing employees to use their own devices drastically reduces the drain on a company’s IT budget. Yes, a small amount of funding needs to be allocated for applications and support but it is a fraction of what it costs to buy and replace the actual devices.
Saves Time on Workforce Training
Employees who bring in their own devices are already familiar with the device’s features and operating system. This helps to save time by reducing the learning curve of having to train employees on company sponsored devices. Some staff members may be used to Android while others strictly prefer Apple products. Letting your employees choose which device they want to use means you don’t have to spend money on cross training them. Plus they can start working right away without the need for training.
It Increases Productivity
A survey conducted last year by (a VMware company) found that companies who adopted a BYOD policy experienced a 15% increase in workplace productivity. This could be attributed to the fact that staff doesn’t have to spend time training on a device that is foreign to them, or that they occasionally will take care of work-related tasks outside of the office as their work is synced to their personal phones or tablets. Or it could be attributed to the fact that without a BYOD policy in place, their company wouldn’t have mobile devices for business processes at all. So the mere fact staff can utilize more tools to get work done, leads to increased productivity.