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Why CYOD Didn’t Work for Me (And What You Should Do Differently)

Client Computing | Posted on October 30, 2013 by Matthew Bynum

As a participant in the CYOD pilot at Softchoice, I’ve been trying out my new tablet/laptop hybrid and chose my device based on the specs listed. I’m a power user, so I need at least a Core i7 and 8 GB of RAM. Storage isn’t a big deal, since I keep the majority of my files on Box , and so I can pick and choose what gets synchronized down to my device. From a technical perspective, the device I picked indeed met my spec requirements. Did it stand up to what a power user like me needs? Read on to find out.

First impressions

When my new device arrived from HQ, I was like a kid at Christmas time. Admittedly, this happens anytime I receive a package from Amazon too. I opened the package, turned the device on, and…squinted to see the screen. Since I’ve used 10″ tablets for a couple of years now, I thought the 11.6″ screen would be a bonus. I was wrong.

The resolution made using the device as a “laptop” near impossible. Holding it closer to my eyes like I would a true tablet was fine, but when I tried to use the keyboard, I looked like a sad T-Rex. While I appreciate what the manufacture tried to do, this “feature” didn’t work for me.

I then tried the device’s tablet mode. Undocking the screen from the keyboard was like the starship Enterprise going through a saucer section separation. It just worked. The device has USB ports as well as a display port on the bottom edge of the tablet, which is normally flush with the keyboard dock. I definitely love the idea of being able to plug a USB device into my tablet. Nice work. Building the tablet-only portion to stand alone nicely without the keyboard dock definitely works.

It’s getting hot in here

At this point, my new device had been on for about 30 minutes. I started to notice some heat radiating from the back right, so I placed my hand on that part of the device. The temperature was uncomfortably hot for a tablet, and I had not really even been stress testing the unit. I decided to check and see if anything was using my processor, so opened Task Manager. Lo and behold, I only had 4GB of RAM. This was confusing to me, because I specifically remembered seeing 8GB of RAM in the spec sheet. I checked the processor: Core i5. And lastly, for giggles, the HD was a paltry 100GB instead of the 180GB advertised, though the real disappointment here was on the processor and memory specs. Giving my company the benefit of the doubt. since this program is a “trial run”, I decided to move forward with the usage of the device to augment my desktop.

Don’t underestimate the power of power

As an engineer, I can safely say that 4GB of RAM is almost useless in a world with tabbed browsers, Windows 8, Office 2013, and multiple office files nearing (and in some instances exceeding) 10MB in size. Thus began my frustrations. There was no way I was going to sacrifice productivity when I could use something else that was snappier.

On the road again

My first road trip with the device was a success, other than the aforementioned issues in using the device as a laptop. When I arrived back home, my experience had made me appreciate my primary machine. I can safely say that given another chance/choice, I would go with something that had a larger screen and better specs, even if I had to put a little skin in the game with my own money.

My advice for your CYOD program

The idea of allowing users to choose their own device from a pre-set list is a much better approach than allowing carte blanche into your organization (like what happens with BYOD).

In the context of a CYOD model, I would encourage every IT department to work with the lines of business to establish user profiles that equate to classifications of specifications. This way, you’re not giving engineers machines that are underpowered and not capable of running VMWare Workstation or opening a 200MB Excel document.

Conversely, it doesn’t make any sense to give someone in Sales a Core i7 with 8GB of RAM. Use cases will set the criteria for device lists. Also, build your CYO policy to account for what happens when a user chooses a device, and that device falls short of the user’s needs. CYO is another tool in the utility belt of IT to accommodate the changing workforce. In my opinion, it should always be chosen over BYOD, as it gives control back to IT, and likely will end up being the “best tool for the job” for IT departments everywhere for the next few years.

Additional Resources

If you have any questions about CYO, feel free to comment below. You can also discover what our CYO participants are talking about on Twitter by following the hashtag #SCYO

CYOD: A New Way to Embrace Mobile Devices

Consulting: The Secret Ingredient to CYOD Success

Putting CYOD To the Ultimate Test – 8,000 Miles Away

4 Steps to Choosing the Right Devices for CYOD

How Choosing My Own Device Changed the Way I Work (and Play)

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