Today there is a cost to support desktops, laptops, tablets, mobility, and all types of service delivery strategies such as virtualization and the cloud. The cost aspect is well documented and all IT professional, third party consulting firms, OEM's, and partners have acknowledged that for years.
But first, the disclaimer. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
The TCO (total cost of ownership) is a set of direct and indirect costs to support (in this case) client computing. In addition, there is lifecycle management which examines the bill of material required to support clients on a day to day basis.
While the sizing might vary, we even have practice levels ranging from basic, medium to advanced to represent this cost aspect. The ITIL framework was developed in part to accommodate the support best practice workflow.
To be compliant with federal, state, local and certain industry regulations, a level of expertise and investments are required to remain current.
In this blog posting , let's be very specific-BYO is about the tablets, not smartphones.
So, what does this mean to BYO you might ask?
There are many who believe that BYO reduces costs immediately. Not only does this stretch credulity, but even upon initial glance the experienced IT teams know better.
BYO is not about cost- it never was- it is about user experience.
So, let's explore a bit deeper.
For most businesses today, BYO strategies are including tablets as a part of the end users portfolio. These devices are not decrementing the installed base, they are incremental devices. Last check, adding to the support, results in a greater costs, not less. (1+1 still = 2 regardless of a third party opinion).
These incremental devices even if personally owned (and most really are not), still are supported, tracked, networked, secured, and liable by the business. (There is not enough case law to otherwise suggest). Most businesses do not exit from any lifecycle practices, it becomes expanded, IT is forced to enter new operations to support BYO.
For those who read this and have a different experience, we would like to hear your point of view. The question to be fundamentally asked is if the IT budget with a BYO strategy actually decreased.
Some who may answer in the affimative may want to double check the following. The line of business or the business unit might be absorbing much of the BYO costs and perhaps the actual dollars do not hit the IT budget per se, but it is a real cost.
By the way, most of the case studies are with high tech business that have highly technical workforces unless a specific usage model is developed in the non-high tech marketplace.
The cost per year per device (without the product portion is in a range of $500-$600+ fully loaded. BYO devices carry that same cost.
Since most of us do understand this, why isn't there the pushback?
The reality might lie in the fact that BYO programs tend to be driven tops down, millenials will leverage their devices, and IT typically receives a mandate to execute. Explaining the cost aspects to leadership and end users who decline to accept the argument often results in the feedback that IT is "not on board", an "inhibitor", or "on a different page".
The same teams that focused upon TCO and bought into the standardization, are now buying into user segmentation, but not acknowledging entrance and exit costs.
BYO will remain and expand as a client computing strategy. If businesses do not baseline existing costs or re-confirm how the lines of business and IT budgets are set, there will be a surprise when the IT budget increases or the business units increase their spend (and ultimately push on IT).
BYO needs to be enabled by virtualization, cloud and sandboxing - all of which require budgets and incremental one time only expenses. BYO cannot be implemented successfully without these commitments.
The final argument is that if BYO does decrement the installed base costs, the cost to support non-BYO devices increases. Again the logical is straight arithmetic- fewer desktops and laptops to amortize the infrastructure costs.
Costs need to be looked at without the emotion and the point of view of accounting- what is the true cost, not what will the cost be if something else occurs, or if certain assumptions occur.
This posting was very focused, I tried not diverting to other aspects of BYO. My objective in this posting and others, is to assist in the separation of what appears to be hype, but hype that has the train leaving the station.
In coming weeks, I will be addressing other potential areas of interest in BYO. Not everyone will agree, and that is a good thing. I repeat what I have stated in several venues- if you have 6 consultants in a room, ask them the same questions, you will get 6 different answers (and they may all be right based upon how they respond).
However, there seems to be no real middle ground on costs- BYO either decrements the IT budget or not.