It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right? - Brian Madden - BrianMadden.com
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It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?

Written on Aug 04 2014 5,669 views, 7 comments


by Brian Madden

When we first started talking about the "BYO" (bring your own) concept on BrianMadden.com, we talked about it in the context of employees bringing their own computers, as in "BYOC" or "BYOPC." Our first article about BYO was way back in 2007 where we talked about the rise of the employee-owned PC in a world where CIOs are losing control. Since then we've written 21 articles on BYOC.

But nowadays you hear more about BYOD (devices) than BYOC (computers). The original change to that term happened with the rise of smart phones and tablets—the idea being that the term "devices" includes phones, tablets, and computers.

However in recent years, the term BYOD seems to only focus on mobile devices and does not seem to include computers. (This is just based on my own anecdotal experience of following the industry.)

Meanwhile we're also seeing the BYOD used frequently (31k results in Google News) versus only 3500 occurrences of BYOC. (And most of the BYOC usages don't even mean "bring your own computer." The results of the first Google News page also include bring your own clone, bring your own cloud, bring your own cape, and bring your own chair.)

So clearly BYOD (as a term at least) is taking off, while BYOC is not. This is also true on BrianMadden.com, as we've written 63 stories on BYOD (again compared to 21 for BYOC), and of those on BYOC, only 1 of them was from the past year and only 3 of them were from the year before that.

Why is that?

  • Is this truly just a terminology thing (like that BYOD includes computers too), or do people just not care about BYO computers as much as they do mobile devices?
  • Perhaps it's because mobile devices are more "personal" to people? They tend to be with them more often, so it's logistically more difficult to carry two?
  • Maybe the shift to mobile devices has meant that the PC or laptop is relegated to more "mundane" tasks and chores, and these are things that people don't need to do during the day?
  • Maybe since most apps have moved to the web and the cloud, employees don't need to bring their own computers because they can still do whatever personal stuff they need to do during the day from their work computer?

As another data point, I took a look at TechTarget's San Francisco office (which is where I work). We have about 40 people here. There's no BYOC program, and the company owns and issues Windows-based laptops to employees.

Based on my informal polling, I'd say about half the employees also have their own personal laptops they use for personal things, and the other half just uses their work laptops for everything.

Here's what's interesting though: I did not find a single employee who wanted to use their own personal laptop for work stuff. Each person's reason for this was different, including:

  • Those who have their own laptops use them for personal things and don't want work stuff "messing up" their laptop.
  • Others who have their own laptops feel that they shouldn't have to use their personal computers for work. "If work wants me to use a laptop, they should give me one."
  • Some who do not have their own laptops said, "What do I need a laptop for? I have a phone and an iPad, I can do everything in my personal life on those."
  • Others who do not have personal laptops said that if they really needed a laptop for something personal that they'd just use their work one.

So of course that's only a single company in a single city, but based on that it sure doesn't seem like employees care (or want) to use their own personal laptops for work, meaning BYOC is a non-starter.

Interestingly TechTarget provides employees with a phone of their choice, and the vast majority of employees use a TechTarget-issued iPhone as their only phone. So it's almost like BYOD is not a big deal either, because we just expect our employers to provide the device we want to use.

Anyway, I'm just curious as to what others are seeing? After being really hot 5-7 years ago, I'm seeing thait BYOC thing as kind of dead today, and I wonder what everyone else is seeing?

By the way, people have joked that "BYOC" should really be "BYOL" (laptop), because really who's bringing in their own desktop computer? Check out this photo I snapped in a coffee shop in Oakland a few months ago:

IMG 0446

Dude walked in with an iMac in a tote bag and set himself up with a table, power, mouse, keyboard, and coffee. (I half expected him to set out a name badge and a can of pencils.)

 
 




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Comments

KyleR wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 10:50 AM Link To This Comment

I've been on the client computing side of things at my company for about 4 years and have never had anyone tell me they wished they could bring their own laptop in to work on. The laptops my corp issues are up towards the highest end that Dell has to offer, and we don't differentiate models based on your position in the company. So it's actually pretty rare when someone has a better computer at home than what we issue them. So there's no perception that their home computer is better so we don't have to content with that.

On the flip side, we only set up a user-device approved WiFI network about a year ago. Once that went in we saw phone and tablet use explode. We're seeing an average of 2-3 wifi devices per person, in addition to their work laptops. We've gone to some pretty good lengths to make those devices useable for work as well. Corporate email can be placed on personal devices, we've just enabled printing to corporate printers from that network, and we're actively encouraging SaaS upgrades/purchases for software so those services can be reached from the internet.

But it all adds up to nobody wants to BYOC around here. If I was hired today and was told I'd have to bring my own laptop I'd ask for a stipend to pay for one (I have a desktop and tablets at home, no laptop). If they didn't offer a stipend I'd probably balk at the offer unless I REALLY wanted the job.

Donnie Knight Jr. wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 11:44 AM Link To This Comment

One word: Drop-MFin-Box. What's only on my home machine that requires me to lug it to work? Nothing.

Guise Bule wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 12:56 PM Link To This Comment

BYOC, they made it seem like so much sense, they made it seem like we had more choice, they made us think that they would pay for our own personal laptops, but it was a lie.

It was a lie meant to enslave us, meant to trick is into working on our own computers, the laptops that we took back to our homes at night and opened up when we were amongst our families.

They enslaved us in our very homes, on our very own machines, the machines our children play on when we are not using them, the machines we shopped on and masturbated too, they watched it all.

BYOC they called it, but now BYOC is dead, we killed it in the name of human decency.

But just when we thought we were free, the beast returned wearing a different mask.

This time the nefarious ones called their dark scheme BYOD and so the circle of madness and enslavement began anew, so we came to fight the dark ones once again.

Join me brothers, join me in fighting this great evil and support the physical isolation of work and play, it is the only way we can ever be free of work and free to play as children again.

We must learn to put down our work devices and pick up our play devices, we must learn to put an air gap between our work and play, for only then shall we ever be free of our masters.

Yes thats right, we want MOAR devices !

kfingerlos wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 1:43 PM Link To This Comment

I would argue that the BYOC/BYOL/BYOD topic is mostly one of semantics these days. The idea being that the employee brings whatever device or devices into the workplace they feel makes them most productive is to me the spirit of BYO.

The topic of who actually pays for the device is interesting - your study seems to show that employees feel that their employer needs to provide a device for them to work on if the employer expects them to need to use one.  That seems not unreasonable to me - though the employer paying for a device of your choice (directly or indirectly) sounds like a BYO scenario to me.  My last two employeers have required that I have a Cell phone, but have provided a stipend to support my purchasing one. I've seen others with partial stipends or reimbursement (anything you want up to $800, or you pay the balance if you want something more expensive).

I do find the folks who say "I don't need a computer - I have a phone" or "I don't' need a computer I'll just use my work computer" for personal use interesting when those are being provided 100% by the employer.  That's much like the argument that I don't need a fax or a copier, I'll just use the one at work.  I wonder if that's in alignment with your corporate policies.  Maybe that is an employee benefit; maybe not.  

fanjo wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 1:57 PM Link To This Comment

A couple theories:

(1) BYOL is more prevalent at larger companies, where often the corporate laptop choice isn't as "modern" as what we see at smaller companies.

(2) Fragmentation of where we work - we don't use personal laptops primarily for work, but we do use it for the occasional work purpose, like checking email from home or editing a file stored in Dropbox, etc. - basically anything we can't just do from our phone/tablet easily.

Rentvent wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Mon, Aug 4 2014 9:54 PM Link To This Comment

Maybe it’s because it’s too much of a radical departure from the way employees have been issued workstations for the past half century.    

I would have thought more companies would have adopted BYOPC by now due to the potential savings. OTOH, there's not a lot of well documented BYOPC programs out there.

If I were CIO, I would offer employees one of three options:

Thinclient + two monitors and a VDI session (thinclient can be taken home if desired)

Chromebook + one monitor and a VDI session

BYOPC* and a VDI session

*For the BYOPC option I would offer $450 allowance (payable over three years = $3 a week)

Of course, make a firewalled wireless network available at all the locations for the BYOPC to access the VDI session in addition to a public gateway.

Unless you work at McDonalds, you wouldn’t expect your employer to supply your shirt or pants.  In this day and age I can’t see employers having to supply PC’s and laptops.  

Benefits of BYOPC:

Less assets for the company to own

Reduced in-house staff to support PC’s and laptops

40,000 support personnel located in Best-Buy and Apple stores all over the world that can assist users and it doesn’t cost the company a dime.

A remote BYOPC user can get a replacement workstation faster than corporate can ship one.

No useless endpoint antivirus products needed

Users can buy whatever type of workstation suits them instead of whatever some IT department decides to issue.

FUIT – Users don’t have to worry about some IT department loading software onto their personal PC or laptop.

FUIT – No more bickering about local admin rights

FUIT – users can load whatever they want on their BYOPC

Ben Kus wrote re: It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?
on Thu, Aug 21 2014 3:36 AM Link To This Comment

I was skeptical about your poll so I did my own. I got similar results until I started asking people if they "use" their own computer for work (rather than "bring" their own computer). Here are my results: http://bit.ly/1rlPK5I

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