Speaking at this year's Enterprise Mobility Conference in Hong Kong, IDC VP Tim Dillion has warned that improperly managed BYOD schemes could prove costly to large organisations. He argues that many companies fail to implement strict policies which lead to application and support costs spiralling.
He said that whilst BYOD schemes should not be dismissed or abandoned, it is important to factor in support costs from the start, so that there are no hidden surprises which later emerge.
"Many organisations say they won't support these devices but please don't take a no-support policy,” he warned.
Dillion suggested that the way to overcome this is for IT managers to provide a list of supported devices to employees so that they can choose their own device which the organisation already has security and application policies firmly in place for.
This would give companies firmer control over connected devices and allow them to choose particular platforms and OS that workers would be allowed to use. In addition to this, policies surrounding applications should also be strong.
Mobile security and BYOD schemes have created something of a debate more recently as the consumerisation of IT continues to gather pace and more and more employees want the companies they work for to allow for such schemes. According to Dillon, many companies are still not looking at how more consumer devices being added to the enterprise market affects both security and support costs.
This is because, although IT managers recognise changing mobile security needs, they are unable to communicate requirements effectively to top-level managers. Dillon said that a poll carried out in February, which asked more than 600 firms about mobile security implementations, found that 80% of respondents believed convincing executives on the need for strong policy and budget presented their biggest challenge.
To overcome this and problems with business applications, outsourcing could be the solution. According to Dillon, one company that he spoke to said that they had spent $50,000 to update its Android-based business app whenever Google issued an update to its mobile OS. Outsourcing could significantly reduce these kinds of costs, he said.
"Outsourcing would solve the skills issue where companies have no internal resources to develop applications, and would also help bring down costs should they find the right pricing model offered by the vendor," Dillon explained.
"The key reason, though, would be the speed-to-market benefit third-party app developers offer companies."
However, Cognizant's Sowrirajan Santhanakrishnan said that in order to "safeguard their investments in enterprise app development”; internal IT departments should build apps based on a standardised platform such as HTML5.