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10/15/2008
09:44 AM
Joe Hernick
Joe Hernick
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Citrix Tries BYOC

Last month I suggested future computing models would let employees pick their own machine with company funds, fetching a corporate desktop via some mix of VM tech. At Citrix, the future is now.

Last month I suggested future computing models would let employees pick their own machine with company funds, fetching a corporate desktop via some mix of VM tech. At Citrix, the future is now.I spoke with Paul Martine, CIO of Citrix Systems last week; Paul tracked me down to discuss his Bring Your Own Computer initiative, offered to the company's Americas-based laptop-toting employees.

BYOC is exactly what you'd hope it would be. Citrix grants a $2,100 stipend every three years. Employees purchase the laptop of their choice, be it an $800 Dell, a Toshiba tablet, 17-inch MacBook Pro, or $4,000 gaming machine. The only requirements: a 3-year support contract, up-to-date anti-virus, the ability to connect to the corporate SSL VPN, and, of course, running XenApp for delivery of all required business apps.

Citrix is putting its money where its mouth is -- virtualization and app delivery solutions allow any computer to run any application, right?

Martine had a number of internal hurdles to cross, namely support plans, security concerns, corporate purchasing details, and vetting the idea with his fellow execs. My read is that initial resistance to change was tempered by desire to participate in the program...

The support model is simple; corporate IT provides first-level support. If an employee laptop is out of commission, the employee gets a loaner from the IT pool until they get their computer fixed.

Citrix ran an internal survey to determine employee interest, then launched a 90-day roll out starting Sept. 15.

They had 300 users signed up and running personal machines within a few weeks.

The preprogram mix of corporate-owned laptops was 80% XP, 20% Vista, all running hosted and streamed apps.

Post-program launch? Roughly 50/50 Windows/Mac for pilot participants. A handful of the Win boxes are XP; most are high-end flavors of Vista. Same mix of hosted and streamed apps.

Bottom line? Happier employees. Martine can't say if productivity numbers are up, but managers report good feedback up and down the chain for the program.

It seems personal ownership equals a personal stake in the equipment; employees get a bit of personal expression in their tech preferences, and everyone involved becomes better versed in Citrix's product line.

Plans are under way to roll out the program to Citrix employees around the world.Last month I suggested future computing models would let employees pick their own machine with company funds, fetching a corporate desktop via some mix of VM tech. At Citrix, the future is now.

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