Enterprise and Choose Your Own Device

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.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

8 thoughts on “Enterprise and Choose Your Own Device”

  1. I’d imagine 2 extra issues with BYOD:

    1- it makes the device’s cost visible. I now have to pay (even if it’s reimbursed) for what used to be a freebie. If I’m given an allowance for it, I’ll probably try to keep some of the cash, too ?

    2- it’s either mine or yours, but not shared. Especially if management tools give a potential backdoor to IT staff, which they always do, that rises security issues vis à vis both the employer and individuals within the IT dept: they probably can get access to *everything* including personal emails, passwords ie all my data including at home & on the cloud… I’ve heard way too many IT staffers comment on others’ business or private emails to be OK with that. Friends of mine have installed a VM as a way to sandbox the “work” part of their PC, but that’s always a hassle, and often impossible for compatibility (PC) or tech (Mobile) reasons.

    1. Especially agree with point #2. What makes the PC ‘personal’ is BOTH personal ownership AND personal control. This serves both sides.

      A former employer used to forbid all personal email at work, even though they expected 10+ hours per day. This was blocked at the network level. They also forbade all forms of insertable media. Their ‘Electronic Communications Policy’ clearly stated that they can (and do) monitor communications. They had their reasons for that, which were not my business. It was their machine and network after all.

      Even though I got ‘special dispensation’ from IT (for making their lives easier), they knew my rules. Their work, their machine. If I needed a company phone, PC, printer, etc., they were to issue one to me. They were to keep their paws off of my stuff.

      The company and the user serve different, sometimes competing, interests. Property should not be intermingled. The company hires an IT department to manage their property. I served as my own IT department over mine. It’s good, however, that companies have broadened choices over the machines they offer, within their own requirements.

    2. If you live in the US of A, you may have to report it as income and provide information as to your cost. You may also have to provide information of usage breakdown, such as personal and business use. It’s a question for your tax advisor.

  2. In my company, BYOD involved an agreement to let them have access to EVERYTHING on my device (in this case my phone). No thank you.

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