Several years ago, BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) was a buzzword. There were theories this would help the PC market rebound, or at least stabilize. Yet, our constant interactions with CIOs and IT managers revealed only a very small uptake of BYOD plans when offered. As we dove into the reasons, employees were often still concerned about the support of the PC they would bring into the enterprise. The idea of an employee getting a credit to go to a retail store and buy their own PC sounded good but the reality is, many employees still like to be issued a PC so they know it will be supported or, more importantly, quickly replaced if something goes wrong.
BYOD appears to falling by the wayside and new plans called CYOD (“Choose Your Own Device”) are gaining in popularity in enterprise. These plans offer employees the choice of a PC from a list provided by the company. The employee can then pick which PC they want off the menu and it is then handed out. These plans make a great deal of sense, especially in the PC hardware world we live in today where they are more options than ever for people to choose from.
What I like about these plans and why I think we will see them become commonplace is the employee knows their workflows as well as anyone. So, if they believe they have a workflow that would benefit most from a PC like a 2-in-1 for example, then they get to pick the best device for them. Similarly, if an employee wants something more powerful because their workflow demands, they can pick something different.
I’ve been a big advocate for the diverse hardware landscape we see today because workers should get the best tool for the job — that is not always a laptop or a desktop macine. The right tool for the job should be decided by the employee rather than decided for them by an IT manager. This is the upside of the choose your own device plan.
Looking at hardware trends, meaning which PCs show up on the menu for employees to choose from, it is interesting to hear from companies that increasingly, Macs are showing up on the menu. This is a testament to Apple’s attempts to make the Mac easier to support and manage, as well as their relationship with IBM. It is also an example of Apple’s consumer efforts paying off. By focusing on the consumer, it is helping them win in enterprise. Years ago, I continually heard the theme that, to compete in commercial, you had to compete in consumer. Many PC brands struggled with this until late and now Apple is starting to show up much more in the enterprise. Another new angle I hear frequently from enterprise accounts is how they believe they need to offer Macs in order to draw Millenials. The point they make is how millennials in many markets increasingly want to use the Mac for their job. I spoke with several large enterprises here in the Bay Area and they told me not only are having Macs on their list of PCs essential to hire millennials in today’s day and age but that Macs are being picked 3 to 1 over Windows PCs by new millennial hires. We have all seen the images floating around of the dramatic usage of Macs on college campuses and Apple’s appeal to the younger generation is impacting the enterprise as well.
Among the younger generation, it is not just Apple that seems to be gaining interest. When I ran a study of millennial consumers, Microsoft Surface products have begun to climb the ranks in terms of consideration to purchase. What these dynamics indicate is the strengthening competition for consumers amongst PC makers. Devices need to be just faster but become more stylish and visually appealing. Everyone needs to start stepping up their game and consumers will benefit from it. It seems the days of large, boring, square PC notebook designs are finally past us.