A new studyfound that while business usage of mobile devices continues to rise, so do the annual IT labor costs of keeping them running. The study by Osterman Research was not aimed at higher education, but focused on mobile device management (MDM) at 117 companies with 7,000 employees using 5,000 or more smartphones. It found that IT labor costs per user rose from $229 in 2011 to $294 this year, and are projected to hit $339 next year.
Forty percent of respondents are using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) as its MDM platform, but could be looking for alternatives after Research in Motion, the firm that created the BlackBerry device and BES, was ordered to pay millions for violating an MDM patent. Switching to a new MDM means new costs for platform, hardware, and training of IT personnel, along with the possibility of new people to manage and monitor it, according to Scott Gode, vice president of product management and marketing at Azaleos, the communications provider that sponsored the study.
MDM costs are also expected to rise because of the increased functionality of new mobile systems and the IT policies that need to be developed to manage the device. Other challenges that add cost to MDM, according to the survey, are setup and deployment of the devices, training users, troubleshooting, and security.
Finally, the survey found that firms prefer cloud-based MDM solutions because they are easy to administer and maintain (69%) and costs are more predictable or even reduced (39%).
“The new MDM vendors have created their products in such a way that there is no feature dropoff if you choose cloud versus on-premise,” Gode said.