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February 9, 2010

UK firms failing to meet worker laptop expectations

Most UK workers believe their laptop is just as important as their mobile phone, according to new research by Sony UK while desire for a portable device is so strong that many are considering buying their own laptop to use for work.The survey also

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Most UK workers believe their laptop is just as important as their mobile phone, according to new research by Sony UK while desire for a portable device is so strong that many are considering buying their own laptop to use for work.

The survey also discovered a worrying disconnect between what users want from their laptops and what businesses are prepared to offer. The results are very similar to research conducted by Toshiba into the differences between IT decision makers and end users when it comes to laptop buying criteria.

The Sony research, released to coincide with its revamped business laptop range and, found that on top of the 61% of employees who think their laptop is as important as their phone, nearly one-third spend over seven hours per day in front of them at work. That final figure is of course not that surprising; any office-based worker is very likely to spend that much time in front of a computer, whether it’s a laptop or desktop.

The interesting thing about that stat is that it highlights just how important laptops are to the people who use them – so much so that 39% of workers have considered buying their own device, just so they can have more control over the buying criteria.

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This is built out of the fact that IT departments and end users want different things from their laptop.

Nearly half (45%) of workers in Sony’s survey rated weight and portability as one of their top three considerations; just 14% of employers thought the same. Likewise, 40% of employees put screen size in their top three considerations, compared to only 6% of employers.

When asked outright to rate the importance of personal choice for employees when selecting their work laptop, none of the employer respondents indicated this as a top 3 consideration. For employers, price (70%), build (51%) and performance (42%) are the top laptop priorities, the survey says.

Toshiba‘s survey revealed very similar results. The three most important considerations for businesses are quality and durability, performance (CPU, hard disc capacity and so on) and mobile connections. For the people who’ll be using the devices, usability/ease of use, performance and security were at the top.

Interestingly, security was more important to end users than the business (see image below). Shouldn’t businesses be very worried about how well their data is protected?


Toshiba also found that visual appeal was important to just a few IT decision makers compared to users, while the opposite was true for costs. After all, if the company is paying for it, why would the end user be particularly bothered how much it cost?

Chris Hirst, VAIO business category marketing manager, Sony UK, said: “We have long known the advantages of laptops in the workplace but the extent to which this research reveals how much emphasis employees place on laptops for work is quite astounding. Employees’ expectations of the hardware that they use for work are rising, but employers aren’t purchasing laptops to meet the full diversity of employees’ needs.”

Sony’s research also turned up some worrying stats about laptop hardware. More than half of employers (57%) do not measure the lifetime value of laptops, leading to many spending money on repairing failed hardware with 71% of employers saying they would repair a laptop with a serious technical problem rather than replace it.

Just over half of those quizzed said they would like a better way to evaluate laptop ROI.

“Return on investment should be front of mind for any business making an investment in IT hardware. Central to this ROI should be establishing what the total cost of ownership is for an organisation’s laptops,” said Hirst. “Buying cheap hardware and then repairing it outside a non-comprehensive or short warranty can be an expensive exercise over the lifespan of a computer. Companies also need to consider employee productivity and downtime when purchasing hardware; a laptop should run for years, not months.”

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