While smartphones have become increasingly important to workforce productivity and flexibility over the past couple of years, most companies continue to take a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, rather than providing smartphones to their employees. But a new study from Samsung and Oxford Economics finds that BYOD may cost businesses in the long run — slowing down their business speed, undermining data security, and negatively impacting revenue growth and employee turnover.
As part of the Maximizing Mobile Value Study, Oxford Economics polled 500 US CEOs and 1,000 US employees at small and medium-sized businesses to better understand how mobile technologies support the workforce. The study found that while smartphones are seen as essential to worker productivity, only 15 percent of companies surveyed provide phones to all of their employees. When asked why they don’t introduce smartphones, 95 percent cited cost as an important factor.
However, when estimating the actual investment in smartphone support, the study found that BYOD saves businesses much less than they think. In particular, companies taking a BYOD approach paid a median salary of $40.20 a month to compensate employees for using their personal phones for work, while the average cost of mobile service plans for companies that issue smartphones to employees was $42 a month.
When considering the initial cost of hardware, administrative expenses, and software, BYOD saved companies just $340 per employee per year on average, but at the same time hampered their ability to leverage mobile devices to boost productivity and transform workflows.
“Executives understand that they are not getting the most out of smartphones, but there is a lot of uncertainty about how to do that,” Terry Robinson, managing editor of technology at Oxford Economics, said:. “Our research shows that organizations with more mature mobile policies are in a better position to manage the future of work, increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and remain competitive.”
“We believe companies need to view mobile devices and apps as a driver of productivity and business transformation, not as a cost to be avoided.” said Chris Palsik, Head of B2B Mobile Services, Samsung Electronics America. “When mobile devices are used effectively, employees can collaborate more effectively wherever they are, access critical business data securely, feel more empowered, and integrate life and work for greater flexibility and productivity.”
The effect of BYOD on business speed and growth
The Maximizing Mobile Value study revealed significant disparities in workforce productivity, mobile maturity, and even broader business fundamentals between companies that adopt a BYOD approach and those that release devices to some or all employees.
- 34% of companies taking a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach think they lag behind when it comes to mobile maturity, more than twice the rate of organizations issuing smartphones to some or all employees
- BYOD organizations deploy fewer business applications (5.1 to 7.9), feel that smartphones are less important for “agility and decision speed” (56 percent to 63 percent) and play a lesser role in delivering “customer service and satisfaction” (48 percent). to 55 percent)
- BYOD companies also leave mobile data and apps unprotected: Only 40 percent have mobile device management (MDM) tools in place, compared to 93 percent of organizations that issue devices to all employees
- Finally, the release of smartphones to employees is associated with increased growth and lower employee turnover rates. For organizations that export smartphones, 53 percent report growth of 5 percent or more in the past three years, compared to 45 percent for BYOD companies. They were also more likely to have an annual turnover rate of less than 10 percent – 51 percent compared to 37 percent for BYOD organizations.
To help companies better understand their total investment in employee mobility, Samsung has created a mobile phone cost calculator that is based on industry standards from the study. Companies can enter their current costs and compare them with those of other organizations of similar size and industry. For a deeper look at the true costs of BYOD, download the Maximizing Mobile Value study.