Originally, BYOD meant allowing employees to conduct business using their own personal mobile devices, however, with the cost of consumer-grade mobile devices significantly lower than rugged devices, many companies are now purchasing and arming their mobile workforce with consumer-grade devices.
Cisco had been slowly rolling out a BYOD program since 2009 to reduce mobile and support expenses, and now allows all employees to use their personal devices for work whether they're at home or in the office.
In a report, the company noted that it's saving over $1 million annually because the BYOD program has helped it reduce smartphone management, and lease and break-fix support costs.
Cisco has also gained 15 minutes per employee per day because the program has increased employee productivity, and it's seen a reduction in support cases by 33 percent. In total BYOD has helped Cisco save up to $300 million annually.
Small to medium-sized businesses might find these types of figures to be more modest, but they too can see the financial benefits of using consumer-grade devices in their operations. Let's look at an example.
A medical device manufacturer that was a client of RFgen Software had a problem managing its consignment inventory. The company was generating $153 million a year in medical device sales, but it was tracking all of its data manually.
That was an issue for at least three reasons:
To solve its problem, the manufacturer needed a data capture system that would allow its field sales employees to easily capture inventory data at the hospitals where the consignment inventory resided. The solution was to provide its field sales employees with consumer-grade Apple iPhones running the RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP solution.
After launching RFgen on the Apple iPhones, the client found the results to be incredible: The client's inventory tracking accuracy reached 99.9 percent, and it saw an 80 percent increase in faster employee training, a 30 percent increase in productivity and a 25 percent rise in efficiency.
The choice between ruggedized and consumer-grade devices is complex and requires an operational area-by-area analysis to determine deciding factors. Consumer-grade devices are much less expensive up front and often easier for employees to use, but factors such as durability and working conditions may favor rugged devices in some applications. Market shifts in operating systems and consumer-grade devices are shaping the future of enterprise mobility.
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