Consumerization: Stepping Out of the Shadows

The idea of Consumerization – using self-owned technology for both business and personal purposes – is still a notion that is surrounded by a cloud of enterprise uncertainty. But, even with the seemingly negative analysis of its cost-effectiveness, support for Consumerization, or the “bring your own device” (BYOD) system has risen dramatically in a short period of time. What are the complexities of such a system, and how are companies making it work for them?

Consumerization

Image Courtesy of Phil Campbell

 

Mobile Device Management Outsourcing – The Silver Lining

Besides being more costly, a consumerised enterprise scheme is more labour-intensive due to the nature of Consumerization itself. Companies have to deal with different accounts and different people, making ICT management more complicated. But even with all these, there was a significant increase in companies adopting BYOD – up from 15% in 2011 to 28% in 2012, according to a Yankee Group study. For some reason, businesses were actually making BYOD work for them. A possible reason is that companies are employing outsourced Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions. In the United Kingdom, for instance, mobile company O2’s Enterprise arm focuses on such a venture. Besides offering O2’s mobile phones and contracts, the London-based telecom together with Uplands is pushing Joined Up Communications. This initiative aims for a single solution to MDM, removing the burden of work from the enterprise at rates competitive with a corporate-liable scheme.

 

The Dark Cloud of IT-ification

While the concept of BYOD is seemingly a very good prospect at first look, enterprise costing analytics stands opposed the idea. According to a Q1 2012 survey by the Aberdeen Group, a consumerised business environment will appear to be around 12.5% cheaper to operate than a company-owned solution. But considering the individual cost of reimbursement and expense report processing, BYOD actually becomes 16% more expensive to maintain than a corporate-liable setting. As an example, the survey data showed that on a BYOD setting, typical ICT expenses per user cost $70, compared to $80 for a corporate-managed scheme. But processing expense reports amount to just $5 for the latter, compared to $30 for consumerised, which is six times as much.

 

Shifting Focus on Apps and Content

One of the underlying problems of a BYOD setting is that MDM puts a tremendous amount of risk to the enterprise. Different platforms require different levels of security with regard to hardware and corporate network infrastructure. The Yankee Group conducted another Yankee survey to determine the levels of difficulty specific facets of MDM. The results of the survey pointed to the idea that with BYOD, security is shifting from the devices themselves to the apps and data, which points to traditional MDM becoming irrelevant in the long run. This becomes a driving reason for enterprises to adopt a consumerised corporate ICT model.

 

What Works

A point of particular interest is that in the Yankee Group’s study on BYOD adoption, a sizeable percentage of UK-based companies employ a combined approach. 38% of them were already supporting a hybrid BYOD and corporate-owned setup. What’s even better is, over 77% were already planning to provide staff’s personal devices access to enterprise apps and data. Transitioning from a traditional company-owned MDM scheme to BYOD will definitely take some time for large-scale companies. Small-scale enterprises on the other hand, particularly those that lack the resources to maintain in-house MDM will benefit a lot from Consumerization.

 

Are you considering adopting BYOD for your business? Share with us your thoughts and feedback.

 

About the Author: Taylor Jennings is a freelance writer who is interested in future tech, art and design, gadgets, as well as the latest developments from brands and industry innovators like Microsoft, O2, and Apple. He is currently a regular contributor to an up-start tech blog: Techiedoodlers.com. Feel free to follow Taylor on Twitter.

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