Despite these troubled economic times and the fact that the PC they get from their corporations is free, a poll of 532 information workers conducted by Unisys finds that 36 percent would prefer to bring their own PC to work while 19 percent said they would prefer to see the company they work for use a hosted desktop computing service.
That means that 45 percent said they would still prefer to have a machine that was bought and managed by the company they work for. But it's pretty clear that the idea of employee-owned machines in the workplace is starting to catch on. And with the advent of Windows 7 and desktop virtualization, the idea is likely to gain even more momentum in 2010.
The sad fact is that most workers, especially information workers, have a much better class of machine at home than they do in the office. In fact, the chances are pretty high that the machine they have at home is a Mac, given their increasing popularity.
Systems-management tools deployed by IT are growing more sophisticated, making it possible to move away from the need for IT to dictate the type of client that workers use. Whether the tools are deployed by the internal IT department or an IT services provider such as Unisys doesn't matter all that much anymore. What does matter is that the management of those images is done using a centralized service that ultimately not only provides more flexibility, but also enhanced security.
Larry Guevel, vice president of strategic business planning for Unisys Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services, expects to see a lot of mixed environments going forward in which companies have both user-owned and corporate PCs deployed side by side. That will require some higher levels of sophistication in terms of policy management, he said, but ultimately people are more productive when using a machine they like and know.
Despite what notions IT managers have about the need to lock down PCs, we live in a world where workers are demanding more choice. That means IT organizations need to figure out a way to lock down "a virtual PC" that gives it to them.