In the fast-changing, thin-margin world of consumer products, new winners and losers are created every day. Speed of innovation, time-to-market, and employee productivity can mean the difference between the next hot trend and a warehouse full of excess inventory. Success in the highly competitive consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industry depends on broad-ranging collaboration, accelerated innovation, and employees who are empowered and productive every step along the way—from product development, to merchandising and sourcing, to store management and customer service.

Many retailers and CPG companies have already started empowering employees to use their favorite mobile devices to facilitate new, better, more agile ways of working. I believe that the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend can provide the additional edge many companies need to retain their leadership position—or become the new leaders

In new research and analysis on the financial impact of BYOD, Cisco Consulting Services found that when properly implemented, BYOD can create an annual average value of $1,650 per mobile employee in the six countries we studied (the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, China India, and Germany). And that’s above and beyond paying for itself in hard cost savings.

BYOD will also be a key driver of value for the Internet of Everything — the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. In fact, according to recent Cisco research and analysis, BYOD will create $243 billion in value for private-sector companies globally over the next decade in the Internet of Everything Economy.

In retail and CPG, I believe BYOD can create value in several areas:

  • Recruiting and retaining great employees: Whether an entry-level sales associate, a freshly minted MBA, or a product developer, people today expect the same level of connectivity they enjoy in their personal lives—and even the ability to integrate personal and business tasks on the same device. They don’t want to have to carry multiple devices to experience the benefits of mobility at work.
  • Outstanding customer service: More and more customers are using their smartphones to compare prices and even buy online while standing in the store—which means employees need even faster access to better, more relevant information. With quick and easy mobile access to information about inventory, delivery times, and upcoming promotions, employees can delight consumers with a personalized and hassle-free shopping experience.
  • In-store productivity and task management: Companies can provide employees with mobile apps that turn their smart devices into an online employee portal where they clock in and out, learn about their assignments for the day, and even access training programs. Real-time alerts can send employees to where they are needed most—whether that means restocking shelves, or reducing the wait at checkout.
  • Innovation: One of the top benefits cited in Cisco’s new BYOD analysis is “new ways of working,” or innovative work practices, enabled by employee-owned devices. When employees have the flexibility to work with the tools, services, and applications they prefer, innovation and creativity can blossom.

BYOD can be an efficient and cost-effective way to provide mobility and flexibility without requiring widespread distribution of smart devices to a retail workforce with turnover rates of up to 120 percent. But to gain the benefits, you need a strategic approach to BYOD policies and capabilities—a level of implementation we call “Comprehensive BYOD.” We’ve defined this comprehensive approach by eight key capabilities, including policies that govern which employees can use their own devices for work, what kind of access they can have, simple authentication, the ability to move seamlessly and securely between networks, and other capabilities designed to ensure security, widespread collaboration, and flexible access to corporate assets.

You can learn more about Comprehensive BYOD and find out how far your company has progressed along the BYOD “value journey” by checking out our interactive BYOD assessment tool or by requesting a customized, in-depth assessment.

For more information about BYOD and the Internet of Everything, please visit: http://cs.co/IoE_IBSG


Dick Cantwell

Vice President

Retail/CPG/Transportation/ Hospitality Internet Business Solutions Group