In an earlier article, we had discussed how the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can be good for mobile usability. In fact, BYOD programs are increasing in popularity as their benefits become more apparent. Forrester Consulting (Forester Research Inc.) recently reported the top three benefits companies receive when instituting a BYOD program: increased employee productivity, reduced device replacement costs and reduced reimbursement expenses for employee data use.
These represent major incentives for more companies to launch BYOD programs. Before you begin a BYOD program, however, it is important to understand how you will measure the program’s success.
Cost Measurement of BYOD
The movement toward consumerization of IT and adoption of BYOD programs is still young. This means many early adopters have not begun to implement program success measurement tools. For early adopters who measure program effectiveness, however, two basic measures are used:cost and benefit.
For many, cost measurement is the easier of the two to use. It is easier to see a direct impact on overhead expenses such as reimbursement to employees from data use, costs for device replacement, software licensing and renewal, expenses from IT staff salaries and employee training programs. For best results, cost measurement should be conducted quarterly for a minimum of 12 months to see how costs relate to device usage throughout the annual business cycle. If you do not see an immediate correlation between implementation of a BYOD program and a reduction in costs, evaluating the program based on benefit may provide more insight.
Benefit Measurement of BYOD
Improvements in employee productivity and flexibility are the key benefits cited by early BYOD program adopters. Although productivity is the more difficult of the two measurements to quantify, most companies use productivity improvements to justify BYOD programs. The Forrester Consulting study indicated that out of 202 companies surveyed internationally, 80 percent of respondents cited “improving worker productivity” as the primary incentive for launching a BYOD program. For early adopters with existing BYOD programs, 82 percent of survey respondents cited measurable improvements in productivity, and 52 percent cited a 10- to 20-percent increase in productivity.
Although measuring productivity is less precise than analyzing costs, there are factors that can help companies quantify how a BYOD program affects productivity. The Wall Street Journal reports that in a recent Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study of more than 1,000 employees, employee productivity was broken down into four areas: work efficiency, work quality, mobility and collaboration. Survey participants cited as major incentives two key BYOD program benefits: increased flexibility (mobility) and collaboration opportunities. The study also revealed that employee productivity is most likely to improve in BYOD programs that emphasize these benefits.
BYOD benefits vary by industry
Different types of organizations are likely to see different levels of BYOD program benefits. Service-focused companies are likely to see the biggest gains in worker productivity, while product-focused companies may realize greater benefits in terms of cost reduction. Your particular company policy regarding how technology integrates with work responsibilities can affect how successful a BYOD program is. A national or international company that relies greatly on e-commerce and virtual communication tools will probably realize greater benefits than a local business with a hands-on, in-person sales approach.
Steps to Accurately Measure BYOD Program benefits
First, identify the primary reason for implementing a BYOD program. Next, choose just two or three metrics that directly relate to your goal that you can use to measure the program’s initial success. If your reason for implementing a BYOD program is to empower your mobile salesforce, choose a metric related to increases in sales. If your reason for implementing a BYOD program is to rein in runaway IT expenses, choose a metric related to overhead and IT costs.
If you follow this process for measuring the success of your company’s BYOD program, you will have the data you need to adjust the program to produce greater benefits.