back to article Blackpool ICT boss: BYOD doesn't save money

Rolling out bring your own device (BYOD) policy is costing Blackpool Council more than it would to provide the mobiles itself, according to the local authority's head of ICT services. Councils considering implementing bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives should not think of them as a money-saving exercise, Tony Doyle, head …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Gordon 10

    I think Blackpool must be doing it wrong.

    You have exactly the same costs detailed as with Employer devices. The only additional costs should be running 2 services during the cut over (eg BB and Good), problems with the granularity of the licenses (ie cant reduce BB licenses coz they come in blocks of 1000), and if the BYOD managment space is less mature than your existing set up - so more costly to run.

    If you do it right I cant see why it would cost you more - unless of course you have failed to do the cost-benefit going into it beforehand - in which case serves you right.

    The Regulatory fines space is a red herring. Properly implemented BYOD policies should reduce this risk not increase it. For instance by removing the need to email a work doc to you home address to work on it at home.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Not really

      The cost saving argument is (as in most IT projects) a complete fallacy and relies heavily on assumptions, some of which you have repeated above.

      The IT environment will have been built using specified models of hardware (PCs/Macs/mobile tech) in which security and all other aspects have been tested to some degree and signed off by all concerned. To now shoehorn into that personal laptops/mobiles/tablets requires you to either relax security models (you are not sole supreme admin on the kit) or else setup a parallel environment with virtualised access. You also have now expanded the range of kit which the helpdesk and other support teams have to become familiar enough with to sort out exotic questions relating to why it now looks different when they click this button.

      None of this has been budgeted for and so is an increased cost.

      This is not to say that a review of environment and processes to enable BYOD isn't a good idea and won't highlight areas where extra work is a positive, regular reviews are ALWAYS a good idea, just that it will not save any money any more than out-sourcing did/does.

      Oh, before eveyone rants about out-sourcing always saves money, just think how much smoother it is running now you have all your support from a team in Outer Mongolia who learnt English from a Slovakian missionary who has seen all John Wayne's film. Do you still remember the times when the guy that used to visit the desk to sort out your problem would fix a few other things for you and your colleagues "while I'm here".

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Not really

        You're right - the actual device costs (the bit you save with BYOD) are minimal in comparison to the overhead you create and the extra risk you have to manage. On top of that come the problems of having to keep private and business use separate which is in itself not only a management nightmare, but a legal one as well.

        BYOD only works for small shops. As soon as you hit 10+ people (an estimate) you're better off with business provided devices (you can add private use allowance into this model, but at least YOU are in control, not the end user).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not really

        I find this all really interesting. The head of IT is saying that BYOD does not save money. Well, let's be honest that is really not all that surprising - everything the IT department save on buying and supporting hardware (read laptops, desktops etc) which are council owned is likely to be spend instead on security, remote access (read desktop visualisation or similar) and support for connecting unknown devices to the network.

        As the article mentions however this increased flexibility has allowed the council to save money in other departments such as facilities management, power, cooling, office space provision as well as being able to offer staff more flexibility to work from home, etc.

        This is the most common problem I come across when talking about these kinds of projects. Why would the IT department care about implementing software which improves power management of PCs when they don't pay the power bill? Sometimes it take a little vision to see the bigger picture and realise that one department changing the way they deliver a service gives an overall benefit to the organisaion, including cost savings from other budgets.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Not really

          power management software also switches PC's on and off for patches, testing roll outs etc. Yes it can all be done with various WoL commands and batch files but turnkey power management is far easier.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not really

        Totally agree, we should have UK based support, not overseas..

        I spent ages on the phone to Barclaycard yesterday trying to explain to the woman who barely understood me that their secure code site was down!! I..E. no one was buying anything, and the fact is SHE did not know, how bad is that?

        Have a UK Call center and your likely to get my business over a rival!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not really

          Try going with Nationwide. I jumped from Natwest and haven't regretted it

      4. P. Lee

        Re: Not really

        Totally agree with all this.

        VDI costs are higher because you aren't swapping a rubbish desktop for a rubbish server hardware. For the server you need RAID5 RAM, 10G switches, SAN fabric, server desktop software licenses - all things you don't bother with on individual desktops.

        I wonder if you could save by doing half of it? Pop a thin client on the desk and put all the desktops in a cupboard? It looks inefficient, but it might produce interesting numbers. Its what blade computing should have been about before the big players decided that blades should be server-class with server prices and no-one produced desktop-class blades. Blades were supposed to be cheap and scalable, not just high-density servers.

    2. Joedoc


      has anyone done a cost-benefit as i'm interested to see one.

  2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    Well, Duh! (I think we need an icon for this)

    Anyone who has ever tried to run a support organisation will tell you that costs rise dramatically for each different device that is added to the support requirements. So opening up to unlimited device types will result in big, big cost increases in just basic support, even before you factor in security and productivity problems.

    Still, I'm glad someone tried the experiment. Can we get on with running our businesses normally now, please?


    1. auburnman

      Re: Well, Duh! (I think we need an icon for this)

      There is no shit, Sherlock, but I think it gets overlooked sometimes. Wasn't there a "Duh" icon alt texted "Pope Catholic, Bear Woods etc"

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Well duh - facepalm?

        Isn't this what the Facepalm icon is for?

        1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

          Re: Well duh - facepalm?

          Both of those kind of work, but neither are quite what I was trying to convey. No matter, they'll do.


  3. auburnman

    Strange turn of phrase

    "I don't believe the right reason to introduce a BYOD policy is to make cost savings"

    It strikes me as odd to put the policy first and the reasoning second in that sentence. The cynic in me wonders if someone's been told that BYOD is happening and decided to rationalise it after the fact...

    Beer icon because the cynic in me and I need to chill out over a cold one...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange turn of phrase

      In conversation people don't talk as straightforward as they might write in a letter. And having had a think I don't believe I could phrase what I think he's saying much better.

    2. Rob

      Re: Strange turn of phrase

      "The cynic in me wonders if someone's been told that BYOD is happening and decided to rationalise it after the fact..."

      I laughed when I read that bit, bollocks to being a cynic, you've just described how public sector organisations work (no joke, it's fairly standard practise to rationalise after the project has fck'd up, sorry I meant to say rolled out/gone live).

  4. Oliver 7

    This is where the cloud comes in?

    My workplace is developing a series of apps for iOS and Android so that we can use our smartphones to access corporate services. There is also a Citrix-style thin client tool for accessing VDI sessions from your home PC. However they don't support the user devices, they just provide secure access to the network. Over time, combined with hotdesking and home working, there must surely be savings? Essentially they're pushing the point-of-access infrastructure support costs onto their employees, though of course they don't pitch it like that ;-)

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: This is where the cloud comes in?

      You are fogetting a few things...

      With BYOD, they still need to ensure the devices are physically secure - or as secure as they can be. For a mobile device, that means that they have to implement policies to ensure that any device which holds or caches corporate data can be remotely wiped (that means that your phone will report to the corporate "find my phone" equivalent, not your private one), that a security code has to be entered to unlock the screen before use, that devices aren't jailbroken (and thus bypassing some security), that they have the latest patches installed etc.

      Those are things many users won't want the company to do to their devices.

      Additionally, phones and tablets, which are single user devices, would not be usable by your kids/spouse friends etc. once they had been attached to the corporate network - data protection guidelines.

      For home computers, it is a little easier, you have to ensure that the account which can connect to the corporate network is secured and cannot be accessed by other family members - and that means that other family members don't get admin access to the machine either.

      Additionally, they need to ensure that the machines have active malware protection suites installed and that they are updated.

      All of that can be done using corporate management tools, if the machines are owned the company / council. For private devices, that configuration and checking will often have to be done on a device-by-device basis, which takes a lot longer than hitting the send policy button.

      If it comes out that your spouse is regularly using your iPad, which also has corporate applets on it, which pull financial details or personal details about customers (names, addresses, telephone numbers etc.), then the company could be liable to fines from the ICO.

      That is all a huge headache and extra costs in time managing the devices, which many don't take into account when they hear BYOD. They think they are saving on the device purchase cost, they are; but those costs probably amount to under 10% of the total cost of the device to the company over its lifetime. And if those other costs escalate, due to the device being "different" to the corporate standard, the cost of BYOD can easily be much higher than providing employees with devices in the first place.

      That is why it is critically important to look at the secondary benefits - happier workforce, more flexibility etc. to see if they outweigh the additional costs of BYOD.

  5. Anthony Hulse


    BYOD does increase costs to IT, but the idea is these get more than compensated by increased productivity amongst the rest of the departments in the organisation.

    I'm not surprised this pronouncement comes from the public sector, where IT departments still see themselves as separate entities to the people they support. 10 years behind the curve....again.

  6. ukaudiophile

    Why is Blackpool council wasting it's money send delegates to Infosec?

    I don't get why a representative from Blackpool Borough Council is burning through council tax payers money at Infosec in London and pontificating about BYOD practices when the council has presided over some of the most moronic wastes of money in the last 15 years which has systematically destroyed any sort of commercial future for the town?

    This is the council which has spent 10's of millions of tax payers money rebuilding a tram infrastructure run by a private company which made so little money they couldn't afford to maintain it themselves. They should have just made it a dual carriageway right along the promenade, at least that would have had value for residents and those in the town that do work (a minority). They wrecked the promenade road and removed traffic capacity without thinking about how to increase it anywhere else to compensate. They ahve put buildings on the promenade which everyone believes are ugly and the butt of jokes locally, which no one seems to use. The deficit the council is running at means they are wrecking local services.

    All this, whilst this idiot is pointlessly prattling on about BYOD to accomodate people wanting to carry vanity with them rather than learning how to use the employer supplied devices effectively.

    In case you're wondering, yes I am unfortunate enough to live in Blackpool and keep harbouring this hope that the town realises that it is no longer a viable tourist destination, and realises it's future is in commerce and as a commuter belt town for Preston and Manchester with excellent road links.

    I will be writing to my councillor asking why this fiasco is being paid for by me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is Blackpool council wasting it's money send delegates to Infosec?

      Your handle includes the word 'audiophile' and you're talking about wasting money?

      1. ukaudiophile

        Do you know the definition of Audiophile?

        The definition of an audiophile according to the OED is 'a hi-fi enthusiast'.

        That I am, guilty as charged, I love music, I love hearing music in my home that actually sounds like music, not some bass bloated thumping noise or something coming out of a mobile phone speaker.

        A great audio system to me brings me closer to the sound of the artist in the studio, and I don't waste money on £50 + tickect to live events with sound so loud and so bad it should carry a health warning, with a stage which I can see clearly, as long as I have a pair of Swarovski binoculars. That way my system pays for itself many times over during a lifespan which, for a good component, can be 20 years or more.

        And yes, I still consider the sending of a Blackpool ICT boss to London conference a waste of MY money!

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Do you know the definition of Audiophile?

          thou dost protest too much, methinks....

    2. John I'm only dancing

      Re: Why is Blackpool council wasting it's money send delegates to Infosec?

      As someone who also has the misfortune of living on the Fylde coast, I fully understand where you're coming from. Thanks to BBC's 'supertrams', my journey time to Blackpool has drastically increased as so many traffic lights have been put in to allow these commuter trams to run at full speed (except when they come off the track because of sand).

      What I do take exception to is you wondering what he is doing at a conference. Probably his job. Most of the wasteful spending you have described was signed off on by the previous administration and the current encumbents have been left with all the mess. You should considr yourself very lucky to live in Blackppol, it could be worse, you could come under Wyre Borough Council who take all the money out of where I live ( Rossall and Fleetwood) and spent in the heartland of their traditional voters (Poulton and Over Wyre).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is Blackpool council wasting it's money send delegates to Infosec?

      You're asking why the Head of ICT is going to an Information Security conference, eh? Seems reasonable to me. Or do you expect public servants to never leave their desk during working hours to do something which could be considered knowledge sharing or developmental???

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Your handle includes the word 'audiophile' and you're talking about wasting money?"

    Wasting his / her OWN money is his / her own choice. People in the public sector wasting money / time are wasting OUR money as tax payers.

    I don't give a fig if someone wants to spend a wedge on some super-duper speakers that they pay for themselves - but I do care about public sector workers wasting time going to conferences or papering their walls with super expensive wallpaper etc.

  8. ukgnome

    And here was me thinking that BYOD was more about improving productivity by having end users making use of kit that they find useable and friendly.

    Personally i don't like BYOD - because I see that as Bring Your Own Dangers.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Bring Your Own Dangers

      I like that one, thanks :)

  9. Yet Another Commentard

    Eh? BYOD means desk numbers reduce?

    "However, the council is reaping other benefits from BYOD, such as office space rationalisation, including a reduction in the number of desks it provides, the introduction of hotdesking, and flexible working."

    Genuine question - how is this in any way coupled to BYOD? We've had hot desks, hotelling and whatever for years, no BYOD (oddly not for management, for whom a permanent desk, in a nice office, to themselves, aids their productivity, but somehow reduces mine).

    Unless, of course BYOD extends to "provide your own office furniture"

  10. Dave Perry
    Thumb Up

    Kinda BYOD

    A friend of mine's company were bought by Symantec. They are network security architects and needed customised (read loaded with legitamately-used badware) laptops to do their jobs. Symantec gave them VMplayer and wouldn't let them on their corporate network without using a VM they supplied. They were used to doing this apparently.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At my own workplace...

    ...we have Citrix - using secure website and a browser plugin, we can access our files running most (but not all) of our main applications. Cost a few k of consultant time to setup I believe, and no idea what the yearly licensing cost is, but it plugs into our existing AD and file servers so the base of it was there already.

    AC for obvious(ish) reasons

  12. Old Painless

    BYOD - because I'm worth it...

    I don't want to make any rash judgements based solely on my own prejudiced and "happening-as-we-speak" experiences - but I wonder just how many of the Good roll outs are demanded by Director types who want to use Something Shiny to flaunt before the minions? Like having the corner office and the reserved parking space..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even users aren't keen on BYOD

    We are currently testing BYOD where I work using VMware VDI. Some (i.e. those with a shiny macbook air) have taken it up enthusiastically. Unfortunately they are trying to push it on the rest of us end users when all some of us want is a laptop we can work on when there isn't any internet and have the knowledge that there is a team of people who can fix the hardware when it has a lie down.

    Yes VDI can be handy when I need to login from a different machine or even god forbid the iPad, but I'm damned if I want to use it all day on my company supplied laptop and be at the mercy of our internal LAN and have it boot me out repeatedly. I would also love to know, for anyone pushing the VDI experience, why they think not being able to work when on planes/trains/etc where there is not internet connectivity is a great idea.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Even users aren't keen on BYOD

      For VDI there's a way around the network connectivity issue called Local Mode. It's a feature controlled by the View Administrator, who probably turned it off because it caches the desktop the user uses on the local machine which they probably saw a a huge data leakage risk. *eyeroll*

      While we aren't doing the BYOD thing at $company for various reasons, we are looking at VDI as a way to trim support and desktop costs in regards to some of our systems which are uses more like terminals then actual PCs.

  14. A J Stiles

    Anyone could have foreseen that

    People's own devices are a mess of hardware, software ..... and malware.

    Probably the best way to get "BYOD" to work is to put together a custom Linux distro on CD, USB stick and PXE boot server; which handles logins via YP and home folders on NFS. No files are stored on the user's machine, which boots into a known, clean environment. This still requires people to be using devices of a certain minimum specification, of course.

    Licensing costs are nil; you just need a Microsoft-hating school leaver to help you set it up.

    1. Jon Press

      Re: Anyone could have foreseen that

      I think the point of "BYOD" is that you bring a familiar environment with you that you have chosen.

      If you want people to have an unfamiliar desktop environment and store no state on the machine they bring, you might as well just give them one to use at work.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the politics

    So far there's been no mention of the *real* reasons Blackpool's head of IT won't get to issue corporate smartphones to all and sundry: politics and PR. Objectively it may be cheaper to do it that way. In reality, though, it will provoke a mass of news headlines - "Council squanders millions handing out iPhones to pampered staff!" This is not something the ruling party's cabinet will countenance. So the realistic choice is between BYOD and... nothing.

    Anon, because I work for a council (not Blackpool)

  16. Why Not?

    BYOD - H&S, Security etc ignored

    I'm assuming in a council they will have a workstation ergonomic audit or similar? what happens when they need something different but its BYOD?

    PAT testing, will they pat test all the BYOD?

    Security - PAH

    Pushing costs onto users or moving them off someone else budget as suggested above is what all this is about .

    1. Mark #255

      PAT testing, PIN numbers...


      PAT is short for Portable Appliance Testing. I suppose you also type in a PIN number and enter entries on your Internet Blog.

      And yes, at both mine and my wife's workplaces, PA tests were made on mains-powered equipment we took in.

  17. James 100

    I remember work rolling out a new management system (an optional part of our existing mail server suite) for non-BlackBerry handsets a while ago. The upshot was that everything could connect to either BES or the non-BB equivalent - the big difference being that the BES cost money over and above the mail server, making BB handsets more expensive for the same job.

    Now mail is outsourced, non-BB handsets can all connect natively, BB kit still needs its dedicated babysitter in the middle at extra cost. It's a big enough, diverse enough workforce there are people around who know each major platform well anyway, so BYOD shouldn't entail any extra costs anyway.

    Besides, most non-enterprisey kit is designed and supported by the manufacturer/vendor for self-sufficient use. For email, feed in your IMAP/SMTP/ActiveSync credentials and away you go. Virtually all our BB support issues amounted to the BES having fouled the nest anyway...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like