Bring your own PC (BYOPC)--and the entire movement toward employees' "bringing their own" (BYO) technology to work--has been discussed and written about much in the information technology and business press. Articles focus on the technology and some of the policy aspects, all of which are important.
But what does it really mean for non-technical business owners who are simply trying to run their businesses in the best way possible? Though many companies ask employees to use their own cellphones for work and provide a stipend or reimbursement for the charges, those same companies resist any talk of employees using their own computers at work. The reasons usually start with security and control, but speed by the benefits of greater employee satisfaction, increased productivity and cost-sharing that supports both the employee and the company.
Organizations that are not already evaluating the merits and risks of BYOPC should be. It can mean higher productivity, improved talent attraction, higher employee retention and can help to position the company as a leader in its space, versus a laggard.
From the beginning, companies have always provided the PCs thai employees use. They settle on a standard model, or a small variety of models, and configure them with identical software and provide support from break/fix to assistance.
Often the PCs have specialized configurations to connect to company systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), intranet and shared folders and other so-called "enterprise-wide" systems.
Organizations may install software on the PC that monitors employee usage, enforces company policies and secures company data. There is no standard configuration used across all companies and each establishes its own standards for PCs. This approach works well for most companies today as it has since computers first made I heir way into corporations.
The Evolving Workforce
Over time though, PCs have moved beyond companies and are now commonplace in homes and in schools. In fact, many people have a more powerful computer at home than they do at the office, which is used as much, or more, than their office PC. Children use PCs from the time they are very young and throughout elementary and secondary schools where they are often required for schoolwork and sometimes furnished by the school district. They are also expected to bring their own PC to college.
In the workplace IT-savvy employees--specifically new entrants to the workforce like the millennial generation--are demanding that companies provide the rich personal computing environments that they enjoy outside work as a way to better accomplish their jobs. They demand PCs, tablets and toolsets of their choosing, free access to social media and the ability to work wherever and whenever they want.
But a company's workforce is hardly ever made up of just technology-savvy millennia-Is. Mostly, the workforce is diverse in backgrounds, the jobs clone and the age. experience and skill sets of the employees are also diverse. The desire for BYOPC as well as the ability for employees to actually set up and maintain their own PC varies across the workforce.
BYOPC is hardly ever a "one-size-fits-all" proposition. The approach must match the needs of employees as well as the company. The trick is to identify who it will work for and who is willing to adopt the program and to set up the right support structure to allow them to be successful in increasing the company's productivity without overburdening an often already stretched IT department.
Rationalizing the Technology Trends
A number of technology trends have become mature in the marketplace and as a result have made BYOPC a reality. Three dominant trends to understand are: cloud computing, virtualization and...