KLM Royal Dutch Airlines expects to save £2m in support costs by giving staff an allowance to buy and maintain their own laptops.
The airline, which plans to roll out its Without Overhead Workstation Programme to more than 4,000 laptop users, said the scheme would free up IT staff to focus on development work.
“Over the next three years we are looking to farm out the purchasing of laptops across the company, giving employees the opportunity to buy products they feel comfortable with. In the initial pilot phase, 1,000 personnel will purchase their own laptops,” said Martien van Deth, senior technology officer at KLM.
Staff can choose any laptop that supports Windows XP (Home). KLM will provide software for users to ensure they are compliant with company security systems and firewalls.
“Today’s workforce often has sophisticated IT knowledge. They use a phenomenal number of gadgets outside the workplace, which they upgrade, secure and maintain without the support of an IT department, and companies should tap into their competencies,” said van Deth.
Laptops bought by employees will have the same security suite as corporate machines, which includes two-factor IPSec tunnelling, and they will have to pass a security compliance check before being allowed to connect to KLM’s network.
This project follows the path advocated by security user group the Jericho Forum, protecting data rather than perimeters, said van Deth.
KLM, which launched the scheme last month, said it plans to roll it out more widely if it proves successful.
Jackie Fenn, vice-president at analyst group Gartner, said firms that use workers’ expertise with consumer IT can free up resources from support to develop the business.
“To do this, firms need to provide technology environments that support the blurring of work and home life, for example, systems that support, but keep distinct, personal and business communications and spending, while maintaining security,” she said.
“By using experimentation and experience with consumer technologies, enterprises can enjoy a significant addition to the resources they can apply to evaluating innovation.”
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