BYOD – Measuring the Value of Mobility


There have been a plethora of articles recently regarding who is the top dog of mobile devices in the enterprise. Depending on how the author of any given article looks at the data, the winner seems to change from day to day. One day it is Apple, the next Android. It will probably be Windows Phone tomorrow (ok that may be pushing it but you get my point).  There is value in understanding this data. However, from the perspective of BYOD, if we are looking at device metrics, then we are concentrating on the wrong data and not doing a good job of measuring value of enterprise mobility. Yes, Apple is making boatloads of money and that makes for great press but, that is not demonstrative of the value of BYOD. Just because there are a lot of Apple devices in the enterprise doesn’t mean businesses are getting the value they should out of them. Who sold the most devices last quarter, who has the most apps in their respective marketplaces, who sells more devices to new users – none of these metrics provide any indication to how effectively mobility is being leveraged in your organization.  The reason for this is simple. Metrics such as number of devices or apps in the marketplace are easily collected and consumed. What is needed is the correlation for BYOD. What we need is a simple measure of value for enterprise mobility.

So what would a simple but effective measure of enterprise mobility look like? It would have to reflect an organization’s ability to capitalize on all the benefits of BYOD and mobility. It would have to also reflect on an organization’s maturity level in effectively implementing BYOD.  This can be achieved by simply measuring:

 - The Percent of “Mobile-Only” Employees

“Mobile-Only” – That is, when an employee does 100% of his or her work only from a mobile device. Measuring “Mobile-Only” employees for the value of BYOD works because of the requirements necessitated to support such a configuration. If an enterprise mobile ecosystem has evolved to the point where employees can go all-in, go “Mobile-Only”, then we can assume that they have reached a level of mobile maturity that includes:

  1. The appropriate level of enterprise data/information security
  2. Capable hardware that functions in all daily use-case scenarios
  3. An app ecosystem that allows users to perform all necessary tasks
  4. ROI – It has to pencil out on the balance sheet

An organization would be just plain reckless to attempt to go “Mobile-Only” without the above assumptions in place and working in concert.

When you look at measuring the value and maturity of enterprise mobility from a “Mobile-Only” perspective, you quickly realize we still have a ways to go. Could you walk into your organization today and replace all your desktops with mobile devices? What gaps do you still need to fill? What infrastructure and processes do you need in place? Could you be assured that your data would be secure? Are there certain tasks that still couldn’t be performed? Can you connect your mobile devices to monitors, projectors, and keyboards? The necessity of answering all these questions before you can go “Mobile-Only” is what makes it such an effective metric for measuring BYOD value and maturity.

What do you think – What aspects does measuring “Mobile-Only” miss? How would you measure the value of BYOD? Post a comment and let me know!

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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6 Comments

Filed under Mobile, Productivity, Strategy

6 responses to “BYOD – Measuring the Value of Mobility

  1. I agree that there is no sense trying to figure who is number 1 between IOS and Android as well as the other OS’s and instead figure out a way to use MDM to insure that everyone who needs to play in your IT infrastructure can play. There are too many devices being introduced in the market today to proclaim that this particular device will win the beauty contest of IT and say that this the de-facto standard we will all use, as those days are long over! :-)

  2. Benjamin:
    You make some good points. I think that BYOD, just like any other IT or business process should have metrics that can be used to measure effectiveness or organizational impact. I would not support any IT initiative that is done because it’s “cool”.
    Regarding mobile-only, I’m not so sure. I would say 100% of everyone who wanted mobile access would be more applicable. Remember there are still people who don’t really care for PCs or computers, for that matter.
    Now to other metrics:
    1) Cost savings of BYOD vs. supplying Blackberry etc. to staff This should be measurable
    2) End-user satisfaction. Does the mobile app reduce pain points with current applications
    3) Process improvement? Does BYOD result in users completing tasks faster because of continuous access? Does the mobile app. increase accuracy – fewer errors or increase errors?
    4) “Long-term” use and satisfaction. After the new is gone are people still using the mobile apps 6 months later, 1 year later. Once mobilized with a few apps, what new ideas are brought forward by the end user community?

    These are the kinds of questions that the CIO should be asking about the BYOD initiative – my POV only.

    • Kevin,

      Great points! My goal was to try and identify a metric that incorporates the points I outlined as well as the ones you mention. Perhaps “Mobile-Only” is too broad a cut at it. Would be nice to have a comparable metric that takes into assumption cost-savings, improved process, user satisfaction as being met, etc. so it can be easily collected and consumed – a high-level gauge if you will. If organizations are not leveraging the devices and the capabilities they provide then I think it stays in the realm of the “cool” factor as you describe.

  3. Mobility is just one factor in measuring the effectiveness of BYOD. For some reason (usually a product or a pet theory), many people seem to be limiting BYOD to managing smartphones and tablets in the enterprise. It’s actually much larger than that – corporate notebooks (laptops) are in scope too, but the issues are not so much technical as people and process.

    Gartner, Forrester, et al. all expect us to be less desktop centric and more application centric. That needs us to rearchitect many or our apps but the end game is not PC-only or mobile-only: it’s about using the right device to suit you (the consumer) in the context where you are currently operating.

    That might be on a phone, a tablet, or a PC depending on where I am – but my data will always be available, and my employer won’t be providing the device(s).

    • Mark,
      Completely agree on the point of the capabilities that BYOD will bring allow my data (and processes) to be available at all times and all places. Also, as you suggest, I don’t think there needs to be a requirement on the device type to access this capability. Mobile-Only could just as well be an ultrabook, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. As far as I am concerned these devices should ultimately be moving toward the same path from a capability perspective – difference being how big a screen and if a physical keyboard is present. I see the measurement of Mobile-Only as a “capstone” representation that can only sit atop a well thought out and mature ecosystem of devices, apps, and processes in an enterprise. Personally – I would love to see just one device that is capable in all scenarios – much more efficient that way – but if people want to have laptops, tablets, and smartphones then all the more power to them.

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