OS/Windows | Management Suite

UEM pays off – an ROI analysis

09. February 2023, Avatar of Benedict WeidingerBenedict Weidinger

The return on investment of a modern UEM solution is surprisingly high and rapid. The time savings and efficiency improvements from automation and greater network transparency means that the software can pay for itself in a year.

In short

  • Thanks to automation and greater network transparency, a Unified Endpoint Management solution (UEM) can pay for itself in about a year.
  • UEM can optimize IT department workloads at companies where users have multiple devices.
  • Freeware, shareware and vendor-bundled utilities have their place but simply cannot match the capability, usability and day-to-day value of a comprehensive UEM solution.
  • In addition to time-savings, productivity improvements and better control of operating costs, a UEM solution improves a company's digital security and risk posture.

Without a doubt, a UEM (Unified Endpoint Management) solution is really useful for any IT department today. It quickly becomes the foundation for day-to-day management of virtually all endpoints from smartphones to tablets, laptops, PCs, servers and OT devices because it saves sysadmins a ton of time. UEM also delivers a host of benefits for end-users and company executives:

  • Improved network transparency and security
  • Better end-user experiences and productivity
  • Stronger competitiveness
  • Tighter control of hardware, software and other IT-related costs

We’ve covered the first three points in past blog articles, so today we’re taking a closer look at the financial benefits of UEM in terms of ROI. 

Staffing and workloads

Based on our experience with customers, users typically rely on two to four devices for their day-to-day work. A UEM platform enables IT teams to apply best practices for managing all devices, applications and users in consistent, repeatable ways with automation. That in turn helps optimize IT department workloads by reducing the burnout-causing effects of Groundhog Day-like IT routines and stress. Given the shortage of skilled sysadmins, companies underestimate the importance of IT job satisfaction at their own peril.

Customers often say that UEM substantially multiplies IT staff capabilities without the need to add headcount. For example, one of our customers said that without UEM, they had an average of one sysadmin maintaining devices, apps and support for 50 end-users. UEM increased that ratio to about 1:100 without overloading sysadmins. One medium-sized company with 500 employees and average admin salary-and-benefits of about $76,000 was able to increase the value of that work to about $380,000 annually by using UEM.

That had direct benefits for sysadmins as well. The improved IT-to-end-user ratio freed IT staff time and resources for more important, interesting and valuable projects.

Improved productivity

Companies using UEM also benefit from increased employee productivity overall. Before implementing UEM, one mid-sized company reported that each user contacted the help desk about five times a year with hardware, software or connectivity problems, requiring the IT team to spend about 45 minutes problem-solving each one. That added up to about 1,800 hours or about $65,000 in IT staff time just for troubleshooting. By adopting UEM, the company was able to significantly reduce that expense and free IT staff for more productive work. 

It's not just cost – it’s business impact and value that counts

Of course, robust and integrated UEM solutions aren’t cheap, especially when compared to familiar freeware, shareware or vendor-bundled utilities that most sysadmins have used at one point or another. Not to knock anyone’s trusty collection of favored utilities, but experience shows that the very large majority of those programs lack the functionality, consistency or security needed for increasingly complicated devices and sysadmin chores. That’s especially the case given the growing variety of hardware and software in use at most companies today.

Mathematically speaking, the ROI on free tools is +/- 100%. But when you’re talking about business value and impact a comprehensive UEM solution is the clear winner. Enterprise decision-makers should always look at how UEM solutions affect the bottom line, not just as a line-item expense. That includes a realistic consideration of staff time, hardware and software expenditures, end-user experiences, IT and employee productivity, and other hard and soft costs.

For example, if the inventory and software license tracking features in a UEM system enable you to identify unused software subscriptions, licenses or packages, those costs can be trimmed. Or, if your cyberinsurance underwriter says that it plans to half your coverage because the number of days that your team needs to patch software is longer than the limit specified for full-coverage, UEM patch management and vulnerability scanning capabilities mean the system can quickly pay for itself and reduce your risk exposure. 

Not so easily quantifiable: Improved digital security

There are other benefits that are harder to quantify, such as a meaningfully better digital security. In the event of a security incident, you can use reports generated by the UEM system to document the company’s security practices and compliance with data protection regulations. This can make a big difference if you face the prospect of government fines or civil litigation. At a bits-and-bytes level, the security benefits of automated UEM vulnerability scanning, device inventory, and patch management simply make your company a harder and less-lucrative target for potential attackers.

There’s even more to explore when considering the ROI of a UEM solution, so I also recommend reading our white paper on the subject.

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