PCs cost too much to expect most employees to bear the expense for work. Business-class laptops cost $1,000 or more, which is of a very different scale than the $200 to $300 for a smartphone, at least in the United States where nearly all smartphone are bought with carrier subsidies. iPads and other tablets cost between $500 and $800 for well-equipped models, closer to a laptop's price, but Hazelton notes that most BYO tablets used for work are bought primarily for personal access and the work capabilities are a convenience, not a necessity. He also notes that companies typically buy iPads directly for employees who need work tablets.
Management tools for hetereogeneous PCs aren't really up to snuff yet. Although a variety of vendors offers tools to manage PCs similar to how mobile devices are managed, Hazelton says they're not able to manage PCs at the level IT expects. He sees such products as placeholders for future capabilities, and he contrasts them with the widely used management tools designed to work with corporate-issued PCs that have standard images and applications, as well as known hardware configrations. Apple has updated OS X to use iOS's management APIs, which makes it easier to manage Macs, no matter who buys them, but that doesn't help manage BYO Windows PCs.
IT won't easily give up something it's managed and owned for two decades. Yes, the first PCs adopted by businesses in the mid-1980s were typically BYO, or at least departmental purchases. But by the 1990s, IT had taken over PC management and issuance at larger companies, and its retained that ownership since. "Computing overall is moving in the direction where the device doesn’t matter, but current IT cares a lot about the platform today for security and management," Hazelton says.
Although BYOPC isn't likely to be as widespread as BYOD, Hazelton sees some areas where it makes sense:
- For organizations that use hoteling, where employees have no fixed office but instead sign up for a desk when at a company facility, and where the standard-issue computer is a thin client. Allowing BYOPC would make sense because, unlike thin clients, the PCs could be used for a mix of personal and work functions that mobile employees are reasonably gong to need to do.
- The same applies for employees who essentially live on the road because, again, work and personal are so intertwined.
- Organizations not yet comfortable with making Macs a standard option. They could allow BYO Macs, perhaps with a managed virtual machine running Windows for work functions.
In the meantime, BYOPC is likely to really mean "home PC."
This article, "BYOD? Sure! BYOPC? Not so fast...," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.