Bringing Your Own Computer to Work Builds a Following

More companies are starting to give employees greater control over the computers they use in the workplace, according to a new report out Monday from Gartner (IT).

The research firm says respondents to a recent survey of 528 information-technology managers at large organizations say that, on average, 10 percent of workers at their companies use employee-owned notebooks as their primary work PC. The respondents predicted that figure will jump to 14 percent by mid-2010, Gartner says.

In its survey, Gartner defines employee-owned notebooks as machines that workers either purchase with their own money or with an allowance that their employers provide to them. In either scenario, employees gain the flexibility to pick a computer that meets their particular needs and preferences – whether for an ultrathin Windows laptop or a Macintosh – rather than a standard-issue corporate machine selected for them by the company.

The Gartner figures suggest the IT liberation movement, chronicled at some length here, is gaining ground, but is still facing resistance from many companies. Opponents of employee-owned computers say such policies introduce unacceptable security risks and costs into the workplace, creating technology anarchy by forcing IT departments to support a bewildering array of software and hardware.

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