The proliferation of smartphones and tablets in particular, is a growing global phenomenon. Currently, 38.9% of Quebecers own a tablet and 52.3% have a smartphone.1 This number will significantly increasebetween now and 2020, when 70% of the Quebec population will possess a smartphone.1 Mobile devices today are as powerful and sophisticated as ever, as a result users tend to upgrade them less often than before. Studies show that in the US, between 2010 and 2015, the average time for which users held on to their phones jumped from 18.2 months to 26.3 months, representing a 44.5% increase.2 What’s more, following the decision put forth by the CRTC reducing the maximum contract length service providers may impose on consumers from 36 to 24 months, consumers have more options than ever.3
After 24 months, mobile phone users find themselves with a device at the cutting edge of technology that’s still very much functional, but with no further contractual obligation to any service provider. Consumers are herefore, less prone to buy a new device simply to sign up to a new agreement. Cellphone service providers must now adapt to this new reality. This new reality favours the “ Bring Your Own Device ” (BYOD) concept, which consists of a consumers bringing their own mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to a service provider and getting a discount on their plan. This new strategy has now spread to businesses, thus opening up a new approach whereby consumers use their personal cellphone in a business context. This practice offers numerous advantages for organizations and companies. Not only do they benefit from advantageous rates on their plans, but the initiative helps to reduce the overall operating costs related to corporate equipment purchasing, while improving employee productivity.
The BYOD approach for SMEs
This model could also be very appealing to SMEs. By bringing devices to a service provider, the business benefits from a monthly discount of 10% to 20% on mobile plans. Technology is evolving at such a rapid rate that it is in the interest of SMEs to implement a policy that favours this new BYOD trend in order to attract and retain young talent from Generation Y (persons born between 1978 and 1994) who place greater importance on being at the forefront of technology. The implementation of this kind of policy increases employee satisfaction rates, while encouraging a decrease in operating costs for the business.
The BYOD approach in large companies
The interest in implementing a BYOD approach is potentially even greater for large companies because very often these kinds of companies must front the cost of a great number of employee mobile devices. This practice enables costs associated with the purchase and upkeep of devices along with the provisioning of IT department resources to be reduced. As a result of this great volume of devices, a larger company may also negotiate more advantageous rates for its mobility plans.
The implementation of the BYOD approach may however represent a threat for the security of the company’s confidential data. Access to the company’s information system via non-secure devices constitutes a real risk that large companies need to face up to. A company that would like to adopt this approach must develop a simple and effective mobile device management (MDM) policy, in order to secure and monitor mobile devices that can be used to access the organization’s computer network. Despite these caveats, Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50% of companies will have adopted the BYOD initiative.
The BYOD approach and your plan
The adoption of the “ Bring Your Own Device ” initiative by a large company allows an employee to not only use their own phone, but also their own plan. Employees may also benefit from an allowance that partially or entirely covers the cost of the plan that they use for work. This ultimately translates into better management of a company’s telecommunications costs. Thus, the company benefits from a solid insight into its fixed costs in terms of telecommunications for employees. For the employee, the company’s contribution favours greater flexibility as to the choice of monthly plan in function of the use made of the mobile device.
A parallel may be drawn between the management of mobile devices via the “ Bring Your Own Device ” initiative and the evolution of the use of company vehicles. In the past, companies provided employees with a car and a company credit card to pay for gas. They then gradually abandoned this practice in favour of a monthly monetary allowance as well as a mileage allowance and have employees use their own personal car for work-related activities. A large majority of companies quickly decided to increase the mileage allowance and drop the monthly payments. The same logic applies to the use of mobile devices within companies and their evolution towards the BYOD concept. Initially, the company provided the device and the cellphone service. But today, the employee gets to choose their own device and plan. In return, the employee receives a total or partial refund to cover the costs. Despite the fact that these two technologies were created in two different centuries, their respective evolution in business is very similar!