Automation, self-service innovations and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena are hugely affecting IT asset management and the related costs. The traditional way of calculating Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is no longer working well. Therefore, we urgently need new viewpoints and serious fine-tuning.

Until now, IT Managers (and CFOs) have diligently calculated how much each phase of the asset life cycle costs for your company – phases as planning, acquiring, deploying, operating, supporting, upgrading, and finally the retiring of a workstation, laptop or mobile device. Naturally, some cost elements are still valid, but many have permanently changed by new technologies and with new ways of working.

Many of you know Intel’s model or a classic, Microsoft’s PC Lifecycle Model and the major costs elements. These are widely used in the traditional IT asset calculations.


However, I’d like to discuss how high-level of self-service and modern automation tools are affecting the lifecycle model – and simultaneously generating cost savings in a way that your investment in MDM/automation tools can actually be cash flow neutral.

Renew Your Set of Cost Elements

When calculating the TCO in a BYOD and self-service environment, it is necessary to use a renewed set of cost elements. Let me shortly describe each of the phases of the traditional way, and the diversity that BYOD brings in.

I narrow down the phases to five: “Plan, Procure, Deploy, Maintain, Retire” – and run through each of these from BYOD perspective:

1. Plan

  • With full BYOD, the planning costs are naturally zero.
  • In the traditional set-up, PC/laptop strategy and design configuration require some 1-2 % of the total costs, as a time investment.
  • From the IT management perspective, the trade-off to tackle is how to balance between standardization and diversity.


2. Procure

  • The same applies here: with full-blooded BYOD there’s no cost. With clever self-service tools some savings can be found in the end-user interaction part.
  • In the traditional model, the major cost is of course hardware cost, and on top of that you add purchasing process costs, software costs, and delivery costs.
  • The most common situation today is a mixed environment where mobiles are employee-owned but laptops company-owned. But that is continuously changing.


3. Deploy

  • In the traditional model, there’s one big headache related to BYOD: how to ensure smooth transfer of data and configurations from the employee’s old device to the new one?
  • IT personnel can remotely and automatically run the implementation procedures that are needed. With the help of modern MDM functionality, for example self-service enrollment, lots of time is saved as part of the traditional pre-installation circus can be skipped. This also applies to management of desktop computers.


4. Maintain

  • The maintain phase is about operating, support and upgrading of the IT assets. IT admin services, data protection, and company software updates all require attention.
  • The traditional environment without advanced automation tools require lots of administrative work, and this phase forms an enormous cost saving opportunity.
  • In BYOD world, a big part of the work can be done faster, and even automatically. The software upgrades and installations can be done easily with the BYOD supporting tools. Clear savings can be gained in both man work and license management.
  • A survey by Gartner Group company (Software Advice) shows that the difference in IT support load when the device is own or company owned is significant: 18 percent would open a ticket for a problem with their own device and 42 percent would do the same when using a company device – so allowing BYOD reduced new tickets by 24 percent.


5. Retire

  • In the non-BYOD environment, computer pickup, re-sell preparations, entire admin process, and shipping away take lots of time. The whole process is very labor-intensive as IT department need to collect computers and devices, store them somewhere, and then finally recycle or destroy.
  • In full or mixed BYOD environment, naturally, employees take care of their own devices. But it is of course important that IT has a control over the installed company software and data – this is a challenge, but can be solved. Advanced MDM and IT endpoint management tools support you in this cost and control challenge, with both computers and mobile devices.


Picture credit: Flickr, Creative Commons / Will Jackson

All-in-all, in order to cope with your IT budget in the transformation towards mixed IT environments (standardized company devices & BYOD), you should remember:

  1. Automation should support the asset management process of both the company-owned and employee-owned devices. You must offer more automation and self-service functionality so that all devices can flexibly be part of a company IT infrastructure and risk management.
  2. BYOD and self-service must not decrease in support services quality for end-users. On the contrary: you should also think about how to best support new ways of working, remote work and user-owned devices.
  3. Good asset data is a foundation to build on. Real-time, quality asset information is at hands when your tool offers a multi-source inventing (AD, the virus databases, SCCM, and agents), with high information security.


Automation of asset-related processes is about cost savings, but also about service quality and security. Planning of these processes must be done with all aspects in mind. Cost savings are sometimes difficult to quantify but we are working on it. In my experience, the best MDM and automation tool investments are in fact cash flow neutral.

Marko Ruusinen

Marko Ruusinen

Marko Ruusinen

CEO at Miradore Ltd
Marko Ruusinen has been appointed as the CEO of Miradore in January 2014. He has over 12 years of experience with IT software companies. Prior experience include cloud service startups Pilvion and Sopima. In IT services, Marko has worked with Efecte, one of the fastest growing ITSM tool vendor in the Nordic region, for almost a decade, including 5 years as the country manager for Sweden. Marko holds BSc. from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. | LinkedIn
Marko Ruusinen