4 Steps To Build A BYOD Business Case

Use these strategies to gather the support you'll need for a successful bring-your-own-device program.

Michele Pelino, Contributor

December 4, 2012

5 Min Read

The rise of the anytime, anywhere information workplace is in full swing. Results from Forrester's Q2 2012 Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey show that more than two-thirds of North American and European information workers (i.e., workers who use a computer for work an hour or more per day) personally choose the smartphones or tablets they use for work, and 46% of information workers personally choose work laptops that are not on the company-approved device list. To address this increasingly complex mobile device landscape, more than half of companies Forrester surveyed across these regions are deploying bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs to support devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops.

Successfully planning for and implementing a BYOD program is no small task. Identifying the comprehensive impacts of a BYOD program requires infrastructure and operations (I&O) executives to get input from line-of-business decision-makers, create a shared vision for BYOD program support throughout the organization, and develop a compelling business case for expanding support in the future. In recent research, Forrester offers the following guidance for developing a business case to justify a BYOD program to support your workforce computing strategy.

1. Build Relationships Outside IT

At the heart of any successful BYOD program you'll find cross-functional collaboration across many IT and business groups in the organization. The I&O team should take the lead in BYOD program development. However, it is important for I&O executives to collaborate with security and governance, sourcing and vendor management, application development, and enterprise architecture professionals to determine the correct strategy and tool set. It's also critical to include line-of-business executives, as well as human resources, legal and finance professionals, to develop corporate BYOD program policies and procedures.

2. Create A Shared, Multi-Year Vision

Proactively working with decision-makers and executives to identify the potential ROI and impacts on corporate business processes enables the I&O team to create a consistent, shared vision of the overall goals and desired outcomes of implementing a BYOD program. What's more, a shared vision of the cross-organizational effects of the BYOD program ensures that line-of-business decision-makers and stakeholders understand what investments they must make to support the program.

Forrester maintains that this comprehensive BYOD vision should identify four key elements:

-- What the company's overall goals are;
-- When the BYOD program will impact various business units;
-- Which business processes must be modified; and
-- How long it will take to achieve the agreed-upon BYOD program benefits.

[ When it comes to IT projects, hope is not a strategy. See 4 Key Elements: Strategic IT Plans. ]

3. Develop A Compelling Business Justification

Your BYOD business case must include insight into the financial investments, personnel requirements and other resources necessary to deploy and maintain the program. Key cost categories include:

-- Network infrastructure costs and wireless service investments. Each new device represents a potential new connection to your network, which can significantly impact the company's wireless guest access strategy. Key infrastructure costs include servers, network infrastructure and licensing fees.

-- Mobile device hardware and mobile device management solutions and subscriptions. I&O pros must determine which mobile devices and platforms they will support in their BYOD program, whether the firm will provide a stipend, and what level of access they will provide to corporate applications and data. Investments in mobile device management and security solutions may also be required to address the expanded variety of mobile devices supported in the BYOD program.

-- Applications, software and security investments. Anticipate additional application management and security costs, including client access licenses (CALs), which may be required for employees to access corporate software (e.g., Microsoft Office) and mobile applications. Investing in a mobile application management solution or a mobile middleware platform may be necessary, so don't overlook maintenance fees associated with these solutions.

It is even more important to identify and capture a comprehensive set of expected benefits from deploying BYOD programs. Key benefits to evaluate include:

-- Enhanced productivity. The leading benefit firms achieve with a BYOD program is increased worker productivity. Productivity efficiencies occur when employees use mobile devices to communicate and collaborate more frequently, from any location, at any time, using any device. The size of your worker productivity gain depends on how willing employees are to use their personal devices for work, as well as on the breadth and depth of adoption of the BYOD program throughout the firm.

-- Increased revenue. Providing sales representatives with access to mobile contacts, directories and sales-order applications on their personally owned devices means they have more time to spend with customers. Thus, each sales rep can manage more accounts, which increases the amount of potential revenue per sales rep.

-- Improved line-of-business process efficiencies. BYOD programs enable employees to spend more time completing their daily activities and provide a more flexible work environment that lets employees shift the time and place where work is completed. Each line-of-business benefit is aligned with specific tasks or business processes that workers in particular roles (e.g., sales, field service, customer service, marketing) complete as part of their routine activities. Examples include: improved ability to manage and distribute field service personnel, expanded productivity time outside the office for repair technicians who can access critical information and repair orders through their mobile devices, and reduced time to complete processes that historically were paper-intensive.

4. Anticipate And Factor BYOD Participation Into ROI Calculations

It takes a new mindset and some time for employees to become comfortable with a BYOD program. I&O execs must ensure that the adoption curve takes into consideration the types of roles within the organization (e.g., senior executives, marketing, field service, customer service, etc.) who will participate in the BYOD program, as well as the rate of adoption among each of these roles. If employees are confused about the program parameters and availability, or feel that the management and security overhead is too intrusive, there will be negative impacts on adoption timelines and ROI results.

About the Author(s)

Michele Pelino


Michele Pelino is a principal analyst at Forrester Research, serving infrastructure and operations professionals. She contributes to Forrester's forthcoming Workforce Computing Playbook.

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