8. Know that you may or may not save money....When Whirlpool’s program is fully rolled out in the next 18 months, Fairfield expects to save money on procurement and support. The executive committee likes not being locked into a pricey PC upgrade cycle every three to five years, he adds. But he also expects better employee engagement, which is a metric Whirlpool measures in a companywide annual survey with questions such as, “Do you have the right tools to do your job?” and, “Are you part of a truly mobile workforce?”
Caddell began Foley’s BYOT program wanting to reduce costs and cope with IT staff cuts. Threehundred people participate in the program now, mainly attorneys, with about 700 more to join in the next two years as existing laptop leases expire. Even with paying the $3,800 reimbursements and installing a VPN client, Caddell expects to save 22 percent on procurement and provisioning costs when the program is fully operational in 2013. That includes savings from not buying equipment and from freeing IT staff from preparing, configuring, repairing and maintaining devices, he says.Yet among our survey takers, there is some question about cost savings. Thirty-one percent claimed savings on hardware and support, while 43 percent report no hard savings at all.The $19.3 billion Motorola Solutions hasn’t seen a net savings, says CIO Jones. “You’re doing it because you want to deliver choice and flexibility. Not to save you money,” she says. “It’s a wash, financially.”For Jones, the benefits of letting people choose their own smartphones for work are soft—employee satisfaction and productivity, and ease of communication with far-flung staff. “Those ideas have huge value.”However, a pilot project to let Motorola employees choose their own laptops for home and work was halted after a year, partly because there was limited interest from employees, Jones says. Thecompany says it got better deals buying in bulk than individuals could get on their own. Another factor that clinched the move to end that program: IT could not wipe those machines remotely. “The need to protect intellectual property is a requirement,” she says.9. …but you will change company culture.More than a year into Kraft’s BYOT program, Cunningham says he’s seen hardware support costs drop, but it’s just as important that the arrangement makes people more productive and improves their work-life balance. Allowing employees to choose the technology they like may also attract new hires, he says. “They think, ‘I can work with this company, which has no draconian rules.’”Mittleman has found that people are more engaged with their colleagues in and out of IT. One by-product of freeing employees to buy and try their own technology is that they may discover productivity tools that the IT department would otherwise overlook. “Everyone’s an IT incubator,” Mittleman says.
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