The adoption of employee-owned IT as a real infrastructure sourcing and management strategy appears to be gaining traction, with Citrix ANZ Australia reporting a high degree of success with its own approach.
The company initiated an employee owned IT program earlier this year. Citrix offers $US2,000 to employees to buy their own work/home PC under the scheme, dubbed ‘Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC)’. The stipulation: The computer must have a minimum three-year support and maintenance contract..
According to Citrix Systems’ area vice president ANZ, Peter Brockhoff, demand for the program was so great that the scheme had been doubly over-subscribed.
“We had to put a cap on the program this year as it has been so widely adopted that we hadn’t budgeted quite enough for it,” he said.
“In the first year of announcement we’ve had nearly 10 per cent of the workforce adopt. It would have been almost double that had we budgeted accordingly. We expect significantly more adoption next year and look forward to putting our backend in place so we can accept it. Demand has been far stronger than we thought it would be.”
Citrix has already begun to see several benefits in the BYOC, chiefly around maintenance and support, Brockhoff said.
“Support for the device becomes a function of the provider of the device, because the requirement in purchasing the PC is to have a three-year contract with the provider for hardware and software support,” he said.
“The cost of the devices is only a small percentage of the total cost of a desktop over a three-year period so if you are taking away the support and management costs, there are significant savings.”
Another benefit, Brockhoff said, is access to greater support coverage for wide-spread and distributed enterprises.
“Among many organisations IT is centralised somewhere, so if it’s in Sydney, you need to get your hardware to there to get support,” he said. “Most IT providers have locations in each state so they can do a better job of support than we can.” Director of desktop technologies for Citrix ANZ, Toby Knight, said that of about 3500 global Citrix employees, roughly 450 had adopted the BYOC program. In addition to a strong return on the initial $US2000 investment, Citrix is also experiencing a lower attrition rate on notebook PCs, Knight said.
“One of the side benefits is that we are getting a much lower incidence of stolen or broken hardware as people who own their own assets take care of them better,” he said.
Brockhoff added that despite the benefits of employee-owned technology, IT managers did need to be on the look out for ‘support creep’ — where the lines between what was company-owned and employee-owned IT and whose responsibility it was to support either became blurred.