Does it also equate to higher monthly cellular bills?

Employees love their mobile gadgets, from smartphones to tablets, to BlackBerries and wearables like smart wristbands. The widespread acceptance of BYOD means they’re used for play – and work.

Organizations reap the benefits of enterprise applications x BYOD in two ways. The company saves money because it doesn’t have to shell out for the device. It also sees enhanced productivity because staff will always have their work devices with them, including off-hours and weekends. Enterprise productivity, marketing, collaboration and communications tools see extended use; and IT directors see a parallel increase in the ROI for their technology investments.

The productivity gains are hard to argue with. A study by Aberdeen Group has shown that BYOD employees are more likely to keep their device with them outside of work. It makes them more accessible and integrated into the corporate IT ecosystem, which can include CRM, enterprise content management or internal communications tools like Yammer; in addition to standard functions like email and messaging.
The money savings however are trickier to prove. Extended use of mobile applications means increased use of expensive mobile data. Monthly cellular ‘bill shock’ is the unintended consequence for many organisations that have made their enterprise systems mobile.
International roaming can also complicate the maths, making remote working whilst travelling or even checking in on SalesForce an expensive proposition. Productivity gains can take a hit as well when BYOD staff are on holiday.
Before BYOD, employees might take their corporate device with them on vacation. The company would assume any roaming charges as the device and connection were corporate-owned assets. Staff would give back a few hours during their holiday. For instance, a senior project manager would be accessible for urgent questions and could keep up with the latest developments.
BYOD tends to eliminate that kind of gain unless roaming charges have been explicitly authorised as part of the company’s corporate mobility policy. Employees won’t knowingly take on a high mobile data bill in order to do work-related tasks.
Patching up the security vulnerabilities of an expanding universe of end points and mobile applications could also be a time consuming exercise for corporates. Security experts found a security exploit in Yammer last Summer that could have left end users pen to attack. Given the commercial sensitivity of information on CRM systems and content repositories, the risk of information leakage could become a serious distraction for mobility managers.
Developing a comprehensive strategy centred on a Mobile Data Gateway is the most effective way to minimize mushrooming data costs and alleviate the security concerns associated with mobile enterprise apps. It allows you to take control of data usage, security and acceptable usage rules without needlessly clamping down with inflexible prohibitions.
Like any effective strategy it needs to be tailored to the specific needs of organisation using it, and focused on managing the issues that analysis of usage patterns brings to the surface. That way data can be protected, and policies and usage caps applied across the board.