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Gartner Survey Shows 10 Percent of Respondents Say Workers Using Employee-Owned Notebooks as Their Primary Work PC in 2009


PC Vendors Should Seek Opportunities in Employee-Owned Notebooks in Mature Markets

STAMFORD, Conn., Enterprises are increasingly considering the use of employee-owned notebooks, and more than 40 percent of organizations have a policy regarding the use of employee-owned PCs, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. Companies in the sample expect the average number of workers using employee-owned notebooks as their primary work PC to increase from 10 percent in 2009 to 14 percent by mid-2010.

The survey took place in the second quarter of 2009 and involved 528 IT managers in organizations with more than 500 employees in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom via a combination of phone-based and Web-based interviews.

During the past two years, nine out of 10 companies have addressed the issue of employee-owned devices. Nearly half (48 percent) prohibit their use outright; many others (43 percent) have specific policies that allow their use.

“While employee-owned notebook programs started to appear a couple of years ago, the acceptance of such schemes by organizations varies greatly,” said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. “However, in the current climate of cost containment, large enterprises are exploring all possibilities offered by alternative client computing architectures and device solution, and that includes employee-owned PCs.”

The Gartner survey found that service companies, such as insurance and telecommunications companies, are more likely to allow employee-owned PCs than organizations in the manufacturing, wholesale or government sectors. There were also differences from a country point of view with 60 percent of the German companies in the sample currently allowing the use of employee-owned PCs versus only 30 percent of U.S. and U.K. companies.

Across all three surveyed countries, organizations expect to see an increase in the average number of notebook users that are using employee-owned PCs in the next 12 to 18 months. U.S. companies expect to see the biggest increases in employee-owned PCs with approximately a 60 percent increase. German companies expect a nearly 40 percent increase, while U.K. organizations expect only modest increases of approximately 15 percent in the next year.

“Growing numbers of employees are asking to use personally owned notebooks for work and an increasing proportion of companies will meet these requests through employee-owned notebook programs, which define policies for usage, technical requirements and process for maintenance and support,” said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Gartner analysts said that successful employee-owned notebook programs have the potential to improve predictability and manageability of the users’ software environment. Compared with less-managed deployment scenarios, a managed virtual machine on an employee-owned notebook offers total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of between 9 percent and 40 percent when compared with company provided notebooks.

Gartner maintains that most of the cost savings with employee-owned notebooks are in indirect management costs. The direct costs of a virtual machine on an employee-owned mobile PC are actually higher than for a company-provided mobile PC, but this is more than compensated for by the greater worker satisfaction and potential increased productivity.

“PC vendors cannot afford to miss the phenomenon of employee-owned notebooks and we advise them to create employee-purchase programs that not only include hardware devices but also services and support options for users,” Ms. Jump said. “PC vendors selling to the enterprise and midsize business segments should create PC products that combine features of business and consumer PCs.”

“Starting in 2010 in selected mature markets, PC vendors could create specific bundles, marketed through commercial retail channels, specifically for those using their own PC in the enterprise,” said Ms. Escherich. “The hardware and software combination should include virtualization software, productivity applications and the consumer’s favorite applications.”

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Employee-Owned Notebooks Gaining Popularity in Mature Markets" The report is available on Gartner’s website at

About Gartner:
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


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