This research paper, written by Gary Woodill and Chad Udell, offers tips for budgeting for social learning and mobile learning.
A 2012 survey of business and learning professionals found three major issues that have been identified as impediments to mobile learning (ASTD and the Institute for Corporate Productivity, in Sosbe, 2012):
1) Security concerns: 36%
2) Integration with company assets: 37%
3) Budgetary concerns: 46%
Despite all the noise in the literature regarding the first two issues, budgeting is the dominant issue for mobile learning.
To be effective in both social learning and mobile learning endeavors, an organization needs to take an active role to promote, develop, police, and nurture the growth of a learning community that operates within the corporate cultural framework. This will demand planning, pilot programs, change management, implementation and maintenance. As the existing IT infrastructure will account for most of the technology demands, the major budgetary concerns involve people to manage and support this initiative.
As indicated above, an organization can choose three basic approaches to deploying mobile:
1) Corporate-Liable: The organization selects, purchases, and supplies devices (with the software) to their employees.
2) BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): the organization supports employee-owned mobile devices and supplies software when necessary.
3) BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology): The organization allows access to its systems through employee-owned devices. Software choice is left to the discretion, and responsibility, of the employee.
On first glance, it may seem that adopting corporate-liable devices is the most expensive route. Be careful! There are costs to deploying any new system within a corporation, and some of these costs are not immediately apparent.
BYOT is the default strategy for many companies that fail to build a sound mobile device strategy and supporting policy. Employees start by using a myriad of mobile devices and software to access corporate assets. A company may actually choose this route as the cost advantages are clear, but serious disadvantages are also present. BYOT has all of the budgetary issues that are common to BYOD, but they tend to become magnified. Security and interoperability can become serious problems with ballooning costs. Most importantly, BYOT introduces an element of chaos into your IT and accounting framework.
These devices are a new workplace reality. They are going to be present in your company and they will be performing work-related tasks regardless of management decisions. This means that your company has no choice but to try and get some level of control over their use, or surrender to chaos. As BYOD is already a reality in virtually every company, a policy, support system, and budget must be put in place very quickly.