Gartner Says Organisations Must Look Beyond Reducing Costs When Considering Employee-Owned Notebook Programmes

Stamford, Conn, (PresseBox) - Programmes that permit the use of employee-owned notebook computers for work are gaining in popularity, but many organisations mistakenly pursue them in the hope of reducing costs, according to Gartner Inc. Analysts said that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a well-managed virtual machine (VM) running on an employee-owned notebook is similar to that of a well-managed notebook provided by the employer, but the visible cost elements are greater due to the notebook allowance (an extra compensation element) that must be paid to the user.

Growing numbers of employees are asking to use personally owned notebooks for work. Some companies meet these requests through employee-owned notebook programmes, which define policies for use, technical requirements, and processes for maintenance and support. Feedback from Gartner clients since 2006 has indicated that a significant number of enterprises already run employee-owned notebook programmes, but only for a small subset of workers.

"Successful employee-owned notebook programmes have the potential to improve user productivity, create a clearer boundary around IT responsibilities and pass some IT costs to the user," said Brian Gammage, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Conversely, poorly conceived and executed employee-owned notebook programmes can have the opposite effect."

A recent Gartner study compared the profiles of two typical workers: the "day extender," who is predominantly office-based and might take his or her notebook home once or twice a week, and the "travelling worker" who works outside the traditional office environment 80 per cent of the time.

For both user profiles, the total annual cost of a locked and well-managed VM on an employee-owned notebook was found to be broadly similar to the annual TCO of a well-managed notebook (2 per cent more expensive for a daytime extender, 1 per cent less expensive in the case of a travelling worker). However, in three other scenarios, where management of the VM on an employee-owned notebook ranged from "moderate" to 'base," total annual cost savings varied between 9 per cent and 44 per cent.

However, Mr Gammage maintained that the comparisons of direct and indirect costs reveal more-pertinent information. "Although total annual costs are typically equal to or better than for company-owned notebooks, the savings mainly occur in indirect costs," he said. "In all cases, the direct costs related to hardware, software and personnel are higher. This is driven by the additional compensation paid to the user in lieu of hardware acquisition and third-party maintenance and support."

Gartner said that this shift in the balance of costs should not be surprising. Although costs are moved to the user, they are not eliminated. Nevertheless, Gartner believes that for many organisations, this consideration may initially discourage the launch of an employee-owned notebook program because indirect costs are rarely made explicitly visible, and only direct costs are considered. Discussions with Gartner clients highlight that cost and licensing constraints of the Microsoft Windows OS also remain an inhibiting factor for many organisations.

Although a purely cost-based argument looks unlikely anytime soon, Gartner believes that there are other strong motivations for organisations to consider employee-owned notebook programmes based on a locked and well-managed VM approach:

- They provide a mechanism for "containing" the operational environment of existing rogue users. This category usually consists of executives and key knowledge workers, whose personal influence is sufficient to be able to flout corporate policy (with exceptions permitted on the basis of trust).
- They help overcome user dissatisfaction arising from the (necessary) functional restrictions imposed by IT management and security initiatives. Although it would be difficult to quantify through a cost-benefit analysis, a happier user is generally considered to be more productive.
- They improve the level of predictability of ongoing management and security responsibilities on user notebooks. Once the user has his or her own "space" on the notebook to install personally owned applications and data, the profile of the corporate VM is much more likely to remain consistent and highly standardised.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "The TCO of Employee-Owned Notebooks Running a Corporate Virtual Machine." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/....

Gartner UK Ltd

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Press releases you might also be interested in

Subscribe for news

The subscribtion service of the PresseBox informs you about press information of a certain topic by your choice at a choosen time. Please enter your email address to receive the email with the press releases.

An error occurred!

Thank you! You will receive a confirmation email within a few minutes.


I want to subscribe to the gratis press mail and have read and accepted the conditions.