‘Bring Your Own Device’ boosts IT savings
GCC companies can realise major cost savings by tapping into Bring Your Own Device, a consumer–led trend which encourages staff to use their own computers and smartphones at work. Challenging conventional thinking about IT standardization presents companies with opportunities to reduce IT costs while improving employee satisfaction, according to A.T. Kearney, a global management consultancy.
GCC industries are enjoying significantly higher rates of growth compared to their mature peers. Emirates airlines, for example, reached $500 revenue per passenger in only 22 years while industry peer Lufthansa took 50 years to reach the same ratio. Coping with this hyper-speed evolution presents commercial demands on many fronts, nowhere more so than in information technology (IT) departments, which are increasing IT spending at a pace in line with GCC economic growth rates.
No less evident in this market is the growth of IT consumerism, marked by increased personal purchases of items such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. In the UAE alone, consumers spend three times more on IT than enterprises. For example, smartphone penetration is 47 percent, higher than the US which stands at 40 percent. The BYOD concept leverages this trend and challenges conventional thinking about IT standardization, helping IT departments capture value in the consumer ‘pop buzz’ around technology. Under a BYOD scheme, employees bring their own IT devices and communication tools to the office for secure integration into the corporate IT infrastructure.
“Companies willing to accept personal devices in the workplace are reporting improved employee productivity and satisfaction, as well as lower costs with this approach,” said Stephen Ardill, Partner at A.T. Kearney Middle East.
The BYOD approach delivers potential savings of up to 22 percent, taking into account software depreciation and maintenance costs, according to A.T. Kearney analysis. A global pilot study by a software firm, for example, reduced device management costs by 20 percent and the budget for maintenance and upgrade tasks by 80 percent.
The Facebook generation workforce has grown up with 24/7 communications and seamless connectivity as a way of life and it is this personal IT experience that sets their expectations of IT tools and services within the corporate environment. With some employees already sneaking their iPads into the office, forward-thinking companies are responding with initiatives to harness this momentum. According to A.T. Kearney, adopters of BYOD, backed by clear and consistent policies addressing key security, support, and procurement considerations, stand to reap considerable benefits from greater connectivity, functionality and user productivity.
Companies using the BYOD concept also benefit by attracting young, IT-savvy talent with a subsequent reduction of IT training costs. For new employees, this means assimilating more easily into a new work environment and using familiar tools and devices. For existing employees, it means benefiting from corporate discounts on the latest gadgets that can also be used outside of the workplace.
“Providing users with a choice and granting personal usage leads to a more positive and productive employee relationship and the faster mobilization of new staff,” explained Faharn Mirza, Principal at A.T. Kearney Middle East.
As data becomes one of an enterprise’s most valuable assets, data security and access control is a major concern for companies across all sectors. Alongside this, 24/7 working patterns mean there is increased pressure to reduce employee downtime. Coupled with greater regulatory governance and continually emerging new handheld communication devices targeted at consumers, business is now beginning to accept a variety of IT devices and applications that are also used on a personal basis by employees. In response, most IT vendors and corporate IT departments already have technical safeguards in place to protect data and network security whilst enabling remote, mobile and shared access.
“A well-designed strategy and implementation plan addressing procurement and IT architecture ensures personal IT devices boost employee productivity and satisfaction rates without increasing costs – leading to a lasting advantage for companies and their employees,” concluded Ardill.
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