BYOD is as entrenched (and complicated) as ever

Matt Hamblen

Both BlackBerry and J.P. Morgan did not comment on the report, although the device maker has recently touted growing interest by various banks and governments in its latest BlackBerry Enterprise Server management products, which can support devices running on several different operating systems.

"The report about J.P. Morgan was so interesting because it's the type of company that has always followed that model of corporate liable," Hochmuth said. "You are seeing BYOD reach down to the regulated industries."

Even if the rate of actual BYOD usage is much lower than 75% in the U.S., Hochmuth said it is decidedly widespread.

"BYOD is the norm," he said. "Companies are getting out of the business of buying phones. Enterprises just don't want to do that anymore. It makes sense for companies to have plans to give stipends to workers for service or to transfer the phone number to the company" for the company to pay the bill.

On the other hand, software management costs and other costs to support BYOD can be unexpected.

"When workers bring in new phones, you don't have the IT department to test the phone and there could be hidden costs and more support calls and IT help desk tickets. Suddenly, you may have everybody submitting an expense report for phones and service, which is an added cost," Hochmuth said. "With corporate liable, it was preconfigured and set up. "

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said J.P. Morgan or any company switching to BYOD faces potential support costs. "I'm not sure how J.P. Morgan would figure it can save millions," by dropping BlackBerry, Gold said. "If they assume they saved due to making users buy their own devices, how do they equate that to the increased cost of support?"

Gold added that in his consulting with businesses, "we are seeing a pullback in BYOD at many companies. The cost savings they predicted by letting everyone buy and provision their own devices are not there. Managing all the diversity of devices can be overwhelming to IT and the help desk."

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, has been consulting with IT shops for nearly a decade on whether to go BYOD or not. "Ultimately, we don't believe that full BYOD or full CYOD is the right method. Both need to be used in conjunction with each other."

Dulaney said one reason Gartner recommends both approaches is so IT won't be required to deliver the latest and greatest device to a worker. "They should have whatever gets the job done at the lowest possible cost, and that might be a phone that is two generations back," he said.

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