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BYOD means soaring IT support costs for mobile devices

Survey shows companies considering more management software

Annual IT costs for managing smartphones will soar by 48% next year compared to 2011, a new survey by Osterman Research shows.

The increase is mainly due to the need for better security and management as workers bring consumer smartphones to use at work, according to the survey.

Osterman's survey was based on interviews with 117 mid-sized and large companies and funded by Azaleos, a cloud services company.

Increased mobile device management means a growing need for IT workers: 2.9 full-time IT workers per 1,000 mobile devices were needed in 2011. That number rose to 3.6 full-time workers per 1,000 devices this year, and it's expected to reach 4 full-time workers per 1,000 devices in 2013, Osterman said.

Those costs convert to a yearly IT labor cost per user of $229 in 2011, $294 in 2012 and a projected increase to $339 per user in 2013.

Because of the resource drain, Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, said companies are considering implementing a managed Mobile Device Management (MDM) service or a cloud-based system to house their MDM software, or both.

Osterman found that 32% of the companies without MDM plan to deploy the software in 2013, while another 24% plan to deploy MDM in 2014.

A cloud-based MDM solution was primarily seen as offering simple administration. More than one-third of those surveyed said that MDM capabilities in Microsoft Exchange were insufficient for their needs.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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