Mobile data costs worrying IT managers


Rising mobile data costs are causing major concerns for more than half of all IT managers

IT managers are becoming increasingly concerned about rising mobile data costs, and are feeling frustration and loss of control over bring your own device (BYOD), according to a new study.

The iPass and MobileIron 2013 Mobile Enterprise Report, found that the majority of survey respondents (57%) thought their mobile data roaming costs would rise in 2013, with 8% saying they'll rise more than 25%.  The top two sources of frustration about BYOD were onboarding and then supporting the increasing number and variety of personal devices, far outranking even security concerns, the survey showed.

It also found that IT is increasingly losing control of mobility budgets as departments assume greater responsibility for mobile initiatives. The number of enterprises in which IT manages the mobility spend has dropped to 48%, down from 53%in 2011. Altogether, 40% of companies' mobility budgets are now managed by non-IT departments. Said Barbara Nelson, chief technology officer at iPass: 'IT is charged with implementing solutions to boost employee productivity, and BYOD does that. But as more personal mobile devices with multiple platforms and operating systems are used for work, IT managers are challenged to safeguard corporate data and keep roaming costs low. And when mobility budgets are managed by departments rather than IT, data roaming costs can be hard to control.'

'With mobile on track to become the primary computing platform for the enterprise, IT can regain control by setting strong BYOD policies and enforcing them through solutions like the iPass Wi-Fi network and services and MobileIron's mobile device management platform,' Nelson added.

When asked about rising data costs, 44% IT managers named the growing number of devices per mobile worker as a factor, 41% highlighted pricey 3G and 4G data plans; and 22% pointed to an increase in the number of mobile workers as major cost culprits.

On average, IT departments spend $96 a month on data fees alone for each mobile worker. North American mobile workers rack up the highest fees ($97 per month), exposing the expense of mobile broadband. Since free Wi-Fi is abundant in North America, these fees primarily reflect non-Wi-Fi forms of mobility, such as 3G and 4G.

'BYOD is more than just shifting ownership of the device to the employee,' said Ojas Rege, VP strategy, MobileIron. 'It has a number of implications for which a strategy needs to be defined in advance of implementation. This becomes even more critical as enterprise mobility evolves from securing email on mobile devices to delivering apps and content to employees anywhere at any time. An effective BYOD program starts with good preparation, but its long-term sustainability will depend on the ongoing quality of the employee's experience.' The survey showed that BYOD continues to gain ground, with 56% of respondents, up from 47% in 2011, have changed their corporate guidelines within the past year to be more accommodating of employees' preferences for using personal devices.

Altogether, 81% of respondents state their company now accommodates personal devices in the office. More than half (54%) have formal BYOD policies in place and North American companies are more likely than European companies to have done so. The survey found that while many organisations allow BYOD not all of them have actual policies for it.

Of the 72% of enterprises with enterprise mobility strategies in place, only 37% of IT managers thought their own company's mobile strategy was effective, while 35% felt that their company had an insufficient approach.

The survey also revealed that IT is more bullish on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 handsets than on BlackBerry 10 phones. Both device lines are new and designed to appeal to the enterprise, as well as consumers. However, only 34% of IT managers plan to support BlackBerry 10, compared to 45% who plan to support Windows Phone 8 devices going forward.

Tablet adoption is growing more mainstream within the enterprise, the survey showed. Between 2011 and 2012, tablet usage increased in all non-executive departments. Legal and HR HeatherMcLeanistration saw the biggest hike, up 14% year on year in tablet support, followed by finance and accounting up 13% year on year.


About Author

Comments are closed.