Samsung recently commissioned Oxford Economics to conduct an in-depth study into the state of enterprise mobility in 2018, focusing in particular on the differences between organizations who have adopted Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and those who have chosen to provide mobile devices to their workforce.

The research, based on survey of 500 senior IT and business leaders and in-depth interviews, also quantifies the total investment in mobile-enablement for the enterprise, highlighting areas for cost-efficiency and the strategies that deliver the greatest return on investment.

The study turned up some thought-provoking findings and I’d encourage business leaders involved in setting mobile policies to download the full report or register for the webinar with Oxford Economics to learn more. You can also compare how much you are spending on mobile enablement compared to industry averages using our cost calculator.

For a quick read on the study, here’s my take on five of the key findings and what they mean to enterprise IT decision makers in 2018:

1. Mobile is more essential than ever

Nearly 80 percent of the survey’s respondents say their employees can’t do their jobs effectively without a mobile phone, and three-quarters say mobile devices are essential to their business workflows. The use of mobile devices is essentially mandatory today. Roughly two-thirds of executives say that management expects employees to be available after hours and remotely, even if employees don’t receive company-provided phones.

2. It’s not as simple as BYOD or corporate-issued

Only 17 percent of enterprises provide mobile phones to all employees, while 31 percent provide to none and instead rely entirely on BYOD. The remaining 52 percent have some kind of hybrid approach, in which certain employee groups receive corporate-issued phones based on job function or seniority. The study also reveals a wide spectrum of BYOD and corporate-issued policies, with some businesses paying for devices and service plans outright, some sharing costs with employees and others letting employees foot the whole bill.

3. BYOD may not be saving you as much as you think

Unsurprisingly, most companies that have opted for a BYOD approach have done so because of the perceived cost savings. These savings can be significant when employees pay for their own mobile service plans, but the survey revealed that increasingly enterprises are providing employees a hefty stipend to compensate for personal mobile usage. In many cases, this stipend wipes out the savings achieved. Additionally, the mobile management costs – a combination of overheads for IT administrators, outsourcing costs and licensing of EMM software – incurred when managing BYOD workforces are only marginally lower than for a fleet of corporate-issued devices, according to the Oxford Economics analysis.

4. Outsourcing mobile management is increasingly popular

Enterprises are clearly grappling with the complexities of mobile device management, and two-thirds have opted to outsource some or all of the day-to-day deployment and management of devices. Outsourcing to managed mobility providers is particularly popular among small- and mid-sized organizations, while larger enterprises are more likely to have the internal resources and expertise to keep management in-house.

5. Enterprises with nuanced mobile strategies yield the greatest benefits

One of the strongest trends revealed in the study is the apparent greater “mobile maturity” of enterprises adopting mixed BYOD and employer-issued device strategies. The study looked at a number of indicators of maturity, including satisfaction with mobile devices as work tools, deployment of business applications, and benefits seen in terms of mobile security and workforce collaboration. In virtually every key measure, enterprises that provide devices to at least 20 percent of employees – but not to every employee – scored the highest.

Effective use of mobile devices is a meaningful differentiator and competitive advantage for enterprises today. Our research with Oxford Economics shows the importance of having a thoughtful, purposeful and coordinated mobile strategy. This often means providing corporate-issued devices to those who really need them and allowing others the freedom to use their own smartphones for work.

It also shows that enterprises must look at ROI holistically – not just at the cost of acquiring mobile phones but also how effectively they are managed to reduce costs, mitigate security risks and enable transformative digital workflows.

Use our mobile cost calculator to compare your investment with the industry average.