Feb 14 2012

The Hidden Cost of BYOD: Wireless Expense Management

Aberdeen Group survey finds that companies with “bring your own device” policies spend more on expense reports.

BYOD has been a rallying cry for those who support the inevitable consumerization of IT. It’s been lauded for its potential mobile efficiencies and cost-savings on hardware for businesses that are brave enough to adopt it. But a survey by the Aberdeen Group has uncovered a hidden cost that businesses may want to consider when crafting a BYOD policy.

In a survey of more than 100 companies, the Aberdeen Group researchers found that the billing and management portion of paying for a BYOD device was nearly 6 times that of a corporate-owned device. Here’s how the math breaks down:

  • $70 – Average reimbursement for mobile usage on a BYOD phone
  • $80 – Average cost per month for voice and data for a corporate-owned device
  • $29 - Typical cost for generating and processing an expense report for BYOD usage
  • $5 – Typical cost for managing a corporate-owned device
  • $99 – Total cost per month for BYOD phone
  • $85 – Total cost per month for a corporate-owned phone

This shows that it’s important to carefully examine and plan within your own business when considering a BYOD policy. On its face it would appear that, at a monthly cost of $70, the BYOD policy would save the business $10 a month. But that number doesn’t take into consideration the cost of generating and processing reimbursement expense reports for BYOD users each month.

The cost of expense management alone isn’t a reason to avoid BYOD. It depends on the structure of the organization. As the Aberdeen Group researchers point out, many of the companies surveyed had their expense managements straddling multiple departments and stakeholders, which helps explain the increase in cost.

BYOD reimbursement is splintered among many departments, which creates more work for the end user, the A/P department, the finance department, and potentially other stakeholders as well. As a result, corporate-liable devices end up being 14% cheaper per month when all costs are considered. In comparison, corporate-liable devices are more likely to be centrally managed and have fewer compliance and archiving issues related to usage and billing.

In context, a company with 1,000 mobile devices spends an extra $170,000 per year, on average, when they use a BYOD approach.

For more information on the hidden cost of BYOD, read the survey results from the Aberdeen Group’s blog.

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