Want an iPhone and a netbook at work? Here's why you should have them

Editor's Notebook: Why IT departments always makes the wrong choices when it comes to hardware

...the type of technology workers appreciate and those that they actually end up using is perfectly illustrated by a piece of research published last week.

It found that even though European business chiefs thought Apple had the best brand for smartphones, they ended up with a BlackBerry, and while they thought Apple was the best laptop maker, their IT department delivered them a Dell.

My point is not about which vendor to choose but that there is a stark contrast between what staff (and even bosses) think is good - and what they have to use day in, day out.

Corporate purchasing decisions - and budgets - inevitably lag behind consumer desire for the sleekest bit of kit: name me a company where the standard desktop is a MacBook Air, for example.

But now I think a point has been reached - and passed - where it is easier for workers to buy hardware that is better than what their employer will provide and is updated more regularly to boot.

The CIO is always going to be on the losing side of the battle here, providing yesterday's technology for solving tomorrow's business problems.

Perhaps the answer is simply to give up: to wave the white flag of surrender and to let the users do exactly what they want - say goodbye to 'you can have any colour as long as it's beige' and hello to DIY IT.

Why not give workers the money you'd be spending on hardware and support, and let them get on with it. It's an option more companies are looking at.

Just set some parameters - operating system (maybe) security (definitely) and the software they're going to need to pack. What colour it is, how much memory it has and what brand - that's down to them.

If they break it, they fix it. If it doesn't conform to your rules, you boot it from the network.

That way, IT gets to work on proper technology, building the services the business really needs - and workers get to build their netbook any which way they like.

Agree? Disagree? Join the debate by leaving a reader comment below.