Fuji Xerox is taking the last engineering steps towards implementing a bring-your-own-computer model, with the IT team currently running a pilot with 50 employees.
Fuji Xerox Australia CIO Information Services, Craig Gibbons, said that he hopes to have 300 staff using their own computers for work within a couple of months. To do this, he's using Citrix thin client software and is currently deciding between two mobile device management products: MobileIron and Good for Enterprise.
"If we're going to give our employees preference and choice then they'll enjoy going to work," he said, also pointing out the environmental benefits of such a scheme.
"It's not very green for them to have their own computer at home, a laptop and the computer I give," he said.
He said that any decisions on how the company was going to reimburse employees for buying the hardware they use at work had not yet been ironed out, but said that it would be easy to put the staff in a position where it's tax positive for them to be purchasing the equipment.
There were already 1000 BYO devices using the Fuji Xerox network, he said. The majority of those were iOS devices, he said, although the number of Androids had been rising.
Currently, the company has a fleet of 400 BlackBerrys, which Gibbons said were unpopular because of the strict controls employed for security purposes. He believed that security wasn't the be all and end all.
"Security doesn't rule the roost," he said. "You don't do IT to do security. I think it has far too much power in the whole relationship."
The BYO scheme could later spread to more of the company's 2500 staff here in Australia and could even spread across the region, Gibbons said. There was also scope for customers or dealers who wanted to work better with Fuji Xerox to use the company's BYO framework.
Gibbons revealed his BYO plans yesterday at an event hosted by Fuji Xerox on "Exploring the workplace of tomorrow".
A panel led by Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, discussed where work trends were heading in the future.
The panel also included:
- Cisco CTO, Kevin Bloch
- IBM Australia CIO, Steve Godbee
- Optus Business marketing and strategy director of Products, Scott Mason
- Fuji Xerox Australia executive general manager, Beth Winchester; and
- Microsoft Australia desktop and productivity lead, Peter Ulm.
Walsh said that the office image had changed from that of IBM workers with thick glasses next to quiet machines to that of a "zoo of teenagers with mobile devices".
Optus research showed that although CIOs were in different places around trends, such as teleworking, BYO and the social workplace, they were all within 12 months of each other, heading towards a common goal, according to Mason.
"Across the board, CIOs are all struggling with the same issues," he said.
BYO was seen as a strong force by all on the panel. "The environment people have at home is far superior to that they have in the office," Mason said. If BYO doesn't come into effect, this ends up being a downer on office morale, he believed.
"What they actually end up with is a disappointment linked with the office ...[BYO] will become a hygiene factor."
The message seemed to be around moderation in everything. Bloch talked about how some meetings just work better face to face than telepresence, such as an annual sales meet-up in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Microsoft, which has created new open plan offices to foster collaboration, also made sure that there were enough breakout rooms for personal time, according to Ulm.
The panel discussed how management needed to change to fit around new work anywhere, anytime patterns.
"Managing [employees by the time they] spend in the office is definitely out," Winchester said. It was also no use banning things because something might happen, she said.
"Give people what they need to do their work and then deal with the exceptions."
This was particularly true of social networking, according to Bloch.
"Some of the smartest people in the world don't work in this business," he said. "If IT starts shutting things down, you are, in my opinion, shutting down innovation in the business."