BYOD Means Bring Your Own Dollars - InformationWeek

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10:46 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy

BYOD Means Bring Your Own Dollars

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is saving your company a ton of taking it out of your own wallet.

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It's letter time! Grumpy IT Reader writes to ask us how to tell when BYOD has gone too far. No, he is not complaining about security and IT's lack of control. It's that some bright exec at his company has created a new definition of BYOD: Bring Your Own Dollars.

BYOD started out as an optional program for Grumpy IT Reader. Then that bright exec decided that the company could save lots of money if it started mandating BYOD. Which, incidentally, saves the company lots of money. Yippee!

I love torture at work. Torture on the job is kind of a hobby for me. And Bring Your Own Dollars is definitely some good torture. It's kind of a level up from "reduce healthcare benefits." That was Level 2 or 3 torture. This is a bonus round. Instead of reducing employee pay and benefits, you can stop providing them equipment. We can go all the way with this one. Bring your own desk. Bring your own copier. Bring your own Cisco 3750 switch stack. Delicious.

Grumpy IT Reader says that many employees are OK bringing their own equipment. Fair. I like choosing to use my own phone, for example. But Grumpy IT Reader says that his job as an appdev requires a beefy computer that is relatively cheap in a desktop model and heinously expensive in a laptop. "Should I shell out that much money to be able to do my job when I show up for work?" he asks.

[So you say you're not a phone addict? Read We Literally Can't Live Without Our iPhones.]

Oh, Grumpy IT Reader. You're so grumpy. Lighten up. I am sure that your bright executive would counsel you to think positively. Think of the plus side of this big-hole-in-your-paycheck-opportunity.

My first suggestion to Grumpy IT Reader is to make the best of things. Buy the desktop model and commute with it. Think of all the friends that you can make if you have to cart an LCD monitor, a tower, and a mouse and keyboard through the parking lot.

Besides, if you dress down, bring a shopping cart, and start jingling a cup, you can beg change to subsidize the computer.

Grumpy IT Reader is from a relatively small company. Whew, you say. That won't be me. Another "Yippee!" moment.

Oh, but wait until the big companies catch on. They have more resources and will be more creative. Imagine the executives meeting around the table in the big board room: "We can have them bring their own equipment, save a load of cash, plus make them sign BYOD policies that allow us to monitor their usage. Then, we install intrusive screen capture software so we can spy on employees during their time off, too!"

Ooh yeah. Let the torture begin. BYOD: Now it's "Bring Your Own Distress."

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Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2015 | 10:39:32 PM
leading to the ultimate BYOS
Its leading us to the ultimate: BYOS - Bring Your Own Salary. We are hit with one more recession that is deep enough and long enough leading to employee supply much more than demand, and then we see signs if it.

After all unpaid internship is about that!
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2015 | 10:43:01 AM
Just a return to the "good old days"
Ah, the good old days of BYOC - bring your own coal - if you want a warm environment to work in.  Employers need to provide the equipment if it's mandatory... period.  I may CHOOSE to use my personal phone for work-related activities, but once it's required, the company needs to pay for it or reimburse for its use.  Want to treat me like an independent contractor, then double my wage and stop telling me when and where I have to work.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2015 | 9:28:29 PM
Remote Wipe
Don't forget policies that allow the company to remote wipe the brought device!
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2015 | 6:55:22 PM
As I see it  BYOD pretty much turns w-2 employees into independent contractors since using one's own equipment is one prong of the test for IC vs. employee.  I have to wonder how long til some penny pinching suit figures this out and pulls the same stunt Fedex has been perpetrating for years by classifying its drivers as ICs instead of employees.  (Which BTW was just struck down by a District Court in CT.)
David Wagner
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2015 | 2:34:37 PM
Re: Sounds like BYOD is working to me
Thanks for pointing out the ridiculousness of mandatory BYOD. This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. And it is precisely the idea that forcing people to pay to do their job is wrong. While i've never heard of anyone being asked to bring their own desk chair, it is the same thing. We live in a mobile world. Few people can do their jobs without a mobile phone these days. Having us pay for our own data and our own talk minutes to do work should not only be considered wrong but illegal. Frankly, I think I could be my job easier without a chair than without a phone.
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2015 | 1:12:46 PM
Sounds like BYOD is working to me
If appdev wants to waste money on a laptop instead of just using VPN/Remote Desktop from home to his beefy desktop, he should pay the difference. And if he has to duplicate a server environment on his desktop/laptop to write apps, that's sure sign maybe he picked the wrong development tool in the first place.

Hard to tell if Grumpy IT Guy is for BYOD or not. He obviously knows the idea is you reimburse a certain standard amount to get your device. If you want something more, pay for it yourself. Seems fair to me.

He seems to like the phone idea, which is really what spawned it. It could also work on workstations if applied within reason. For example, we run WINDOWS 7, buy any Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo you want that runs it. But don't show up with a Mac and expect to join Active Directory. Tablets could also be BYOD, since you don't do anything useful with them other than read emails and browse internet anyway.

I'm personally waiting for BYOS, Bring your own Software. That's when things will really get interesting in IT support.

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