Gartner has now recommended that employees buy their own laptops. There is nothing new in the concept, otherwise known as consumerisation. The idea is simple, employees buy and use their own hardware for work. In the US, it was the iPhone which has driven the move to consumerisation, lots of people rushed out to buy one and then asked their IT departments to support them. Here in lies one of the issues – support. The other one being licensing.
From a licensing perspective, who owns the software? Is it the company or the individual, what happens when they leave? From a support perspective what happens when a machine goes wrong? If there is a standard build, with a standard machine, then it is simple to fix or just to deliver a replacement. If it is down to the employee to get it fixed, do they do that on their own time? What happens if they don’t – laptops are an essential business tool if not available then productivity can drop to zero! What happens with backup? Who is responsible for doing it and how is it done? What about data loss prevention? If the machine has company information on it, what happens to it when the employee leaves?
There have been a number of successful schemes, but it is still early days. Before rushing in to save costs companies need to work through the issues and ensure that their corporate policies cover all eventualities.