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3 min read

How BYOD Changes Total Cost of Ownership Calculations

3 min read


Automation, self-service innovations, and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model are hugely affecting IT asset management and related costs. The traditional way of calculating Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) no longer works 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 – including the 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 thanks to new technologies and new ways of working.

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

However, new higher levels 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 BYOD 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’s review each of the phases of the traditional way, and the diversity that BYOD adds.

We narrow down the phases to five: “Plan, Procure, Deploy, Maintain, Retire” – and run through each of these from a 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-on BYOD there’s no cost. Savings can be found via self-service tools.
  • In the traditional model, the major cost is of course hardware, but there are additional costs related to the purchasing process, software, and delivery.
  • The most common situation today is a mixed environment in which mobile devices are employee-owned but laptops are company-owned. But this is continuously changing.

3. Deploy

  • In the traditional model, there’s one big headache related to BYOD: how to ensure the 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, a huge amount of time is saved without the traditional pre-installation hassle. This also applies to the management of desktop PCs.

4. Maintain

  • The maintenance phase is about the operations, support, and upgrading of IT assets. IT admin services, data protection, and company software updates all require attention.
  • The traditional environment without advanced automation tools requires a lot of administrative work, and this phase could present itself as an enormous cost-saving opportunity.
  • In the 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 BYOD supporting tools. Clear savings can be gained in both labor and license management.
  • A survey by a Gartner Group company (Software Advice) shows that the difference in IT support load when the device is employee-owned versus 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, the entire administrative process, including computer pickup, re-selling preparations, and shipping back takes a lot of time. The whole process is very labor-intensive, as the IT department needs to collect computers and devices, store them somewhere, and then finally recycle or destroy.
  • In full or mixed BYOD environments, naturally, employees take care of their own devices. But it is, of course, important that IT has control over the installed company software and data – a huge challenge, but one that can be solved. Advanced MDM and IT endpoint management tools support you in this cost and control challenge, with both PCs and mobile devices.


All-in-all, in order to cope with your IT budget in the transformation towards mixed IT environments (standardized company devices and BYOD), it is important to note the following:

  1. Automation should support the asset management process of both company-owned and employee-owned devices. You must offer more automation and self-service functionality so that all devices can flexibly be part of the company’s 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, including remote work with user-owned devices.
  3. Good asset data is a foundation to build on. Real-time, quality asset information is a must.

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 are worth pursuing. Indeed, the best MDM and automation tool investments can in fact be cash flow neutral.