Business - Written by Ian Da Silva on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 7:13 - 1 Comment
Would you value the option to choose your own work laptop?
I know that in the past I sure have, and it appears that a number of employees at enterprise software company Citrix are now also doing the same.
Instead of the typical “here’s your company laptop – enjoy!“, Citrix is one of the few companies to have gone public with a Bring Your Own Computer policy and they are experimenting with giving employees a stipend with which to purchase their own machine. With a $2,100 allowance, employees can purchase a PC or Mac of their choice, so long as it comes with a three-year service plan and carries guaranteed next day on-site service.
There are obviously a number of challenges posed by the infinite number of options that come as a result of a customized computer program, but the program brings with it at least one important reward – and one that our research has shown to be particularly attractive to the tech-savvy Net Generation – Customization.
Much more than just a machine on which to complete work (and sometimes play), laptops, like many other tech devices have become an important means of self-expression (enter the Mac marketing strategy). The option to customize also goes far beyond the Mac vs. PC debate by allowing employees to purchase a machine that best suits their desired specs i.e. screen size and port availability vs. weight, speed vs. storage capacity etc.
While I appreciate the interoperability and flexibility provided by a standardized computing option, I can honestly say that I have found a personal machine much more valuable than the ability to swap power cords every once in a while, which is one of the greatest personal benefits I experienced with standardized machines. And really, with the marked cutbacks of late, by which many employees have become their own peer IT support department, does it really matter anymore whether or not your system is “supported,” so long as it runs one of the operating systems. Let alone the increasing shift towards cloud computing, software as a service and hosted computing, which have helped transfer the burden from “can you computer do this” to “is this a machine you’ll be happy and productive working on.”
Most organizations still seem to be view this customization as an unwelcome and unnecessary headache, but it appears that there may be a growing appetite for at least experimentation with a customized procurement model.
My take on the situation is that petty as it may seem to some, if this customization is a “reward” that is valued by an increasing number of employees, I think it is certainly an option worth serious consideration.
What’s your take? Is the potential reward of increased employee satisfaction worth the potential headache of dealing with countless systems? Anyone else experienced (or wanting) the option to customize?
Of note as well is that Citrix has been able to decrease the average amount of upfront computer outlay from $2,500 to $2,100 (ownership lifecycle costs not factored in), which suggests that maybe some employees are willing to take a “lesser” machine in favor of customization and also that rewards don’t always have to “cost more.”
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