In theory, BYOD or bring your own device lightens the load in terms of IT sourcing, because it transfers the work (and cost) of acquiring a device to the user of that device.
Users are happy because they can use the devices they favour, while IT departments can free up time and budget to use elsewhere. Everyone is happy, end of story – or not quite.
Paranoid IT managers can over-compensate for the wide variety of different devices, going overboard on security and bandwidth investments.
On the other hand, unwary IT organisations can end up with more problems than they solve, if they fail to put IT management in place (which requires IT sourcing of its own) and users swamp out helpdesks with issues that mix personal and professional device usage.
Is CYOD rather than BYOD the answer?
CYOD is “Choose Your Own Device”. There are two levels of CYOD, depending on how an organisation and its IT team want to play it.
Both involve constraints compared with a freewheeling “anything goes” BYOD approach. The first level of CYOD is a list of approved devices that can be used at work.
The IT team simplifies its life and keeps IT management costs in line by only allowing devices it knows and likes. How much this list overlaps with employees’ personal preferences is another matter.
However, this can significantly lighten support loads in a situation where users are using their devices effectively 24×7 and expecting assistance at any time as well.
The second level is to offer a range of approved devices, funded by the organisation, but available to employees for personal as well as professional use.
One-time device acquisition costs are often smaller than support and maintenance costs.
An organisation may therefore end up better off overall by controlling device choice, security, and management, while still offering employees the carrot of a “free” device looking something like BYOD, but which does not cost employees anything.
If an employee leaves the organisation, the device must then be returned to the organisation. So, BYOD, CYOD1 or CYOD2? Do your sums to see which one works out best financially for IT sourcing – after making sure business objectives are respected, of course.