Management > CIO

Devon to pilot BYOD in the 'next two to three months'

Charlotte Jee Published 15 November 2012

CIO Rob Parkhouse highlights BYOD benefits such as staff flexibility and cost savings


Devon County Council is planning to pilot a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme in the next two to three months, according to chief information officer (CIO) Rob Parkhouse.

BYOD, which allows staff to bring their own mobile devices into the workplace and use them remotely to access their organisations' resources, has been piloted at a number of councils, including Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Leeds and Norfolk.

However, Devon has a particular impetus to try out BYOD given the announcement this week that the council has set a target of reducing its floor space by 35% over the next five years. The sale of buildings, which is expected to generate significant cost savings, would mean that employees' jobs are guaranteed, but not their desks. As a result, sharing desks and working from home or other remote locations will become commonplace at the council.

The council employs about 6,000 staff operating out of about 321 buildings around the county - not including schools and their staff.

Parkhouse said, "the key driver beyond ICT savings is around a modern desktop. This involves mobility, flexible working and the ability to access information systems on the move. Flexibility is a key focus".

"BYOD is part of our strategy of looking at disposing of properties we no longer need. That has a clear link to technology. We are looking for staff to work in different ways. It's beneficial for them as it allows them to work flexibly, but we are also exploring BYOD in terms of the technology we need [at the council]. In the next two or three months we'll be able to move to a pilot".

In addition, as part of its 'invest to save to invest' strategy, the council is planning to invest in new desktops. By moving to 'thin client' desktops- those which rely on an external server for the majority of their data processing- the council hopes to save money on hardware renewal.

Parkhouse said, "the benefit of moving to thin client technology is that it will result in significant cost savings. For example, it can extend the life of the PC. We used to replace them every five years, now we'll do that every eight years. Thin client desktops will allow us to ensure that software is up to date".

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