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BYOD vs. COPE: Weighing the Benefits of Each Mobile Strategy

April 02, 2014 by

The advent of mobile devices has transformed the business world. Instead of being tied to a desk, we are able to communicate and plan, regardless of location. Answers to pressing questions are given in minutes, not hours or days. Meetings, scheduled a month ago, no longer run the risk of being forgotten. And though they may undesirably dissolve the work/life balance for some, without a doubt mobile devices have made our work more efficient.

Most of us use some sort of mobile device, regardless of purpose. In fact, some of us have taken part in the trend of “bringing your own devices” to work for commercial use (also known as BYOD). This is the opposite of having a device that is “corporate liable,” which means that a company has sole accountability for every aspect related to ownership and management of the device. Given that many are using a smartphone, tablet, or other communication tool at home, it would make sense from an employer’s perspective to save resources and let people use their own devices for work as well…right?

Well, yes and no. In theory, the idea of BYOD is money-saving and increases convenience. However, what isn’t as obvious is that for some, costs actually increased. A survey that profiled companies who had implemented BYOD strategies saw that 67 percent saw no change in expenditures and 9 percent saw a decrease in costs, while the remaining 24 percent found that their costs had actually increased.

Since people participating in a BYOD system are utilizing their own devices, companies are not spending to supply the devices. Rather, the costs come largely from MDM, known as “mobile device management,” which includes things like technical support and security management.

Instead of going straight back to corporate-liable, some companies have decided to try an alternative solution called COPE, or “corporate owned, personally enabled.” According to an article entitled “BYOD Versus Corporate-Liable: How do you COPE?” in No Jitter, COPE can actually benefit companies more than BYOD.

"In the COPE model (sometimes referred to as CYOD, or choose your own device), both the device and service provisioned are specified and paid for directly by the company. Under this model, the permutations and combinations of mobile operating systems, mobile devices and mobile service plans are reduced, and the corporation can benefit from negotiating bulk rates for voice and data services, known as pool plans. Employees can select from desirable (and supported) devices like iPhones, and are allowed certain texting, tweeting or gaming activities via mobile application management tools."
Which is the “right” solution? Well, it really depends. For companies with employees who are tech-savvy, know how to operate their devices well, and are cognizant of security solutions, BYOD may result in significant savings. However, other organizations who have an employee base that possesses a variety of technological abilities and equipment might benefit from COPE strategies, as this allows the company to regulate and manage a more universal structure that possesses a certain amount of predictability. Regardless of choice, the most important determining factor is this: make sure you know your company well.


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