On Wednesday, Google released an interesting laptop option for corporate IT.  The Chromebook. For $28-$33/month (depending on the laptop model and features), you can access web-based applications through a Samsung or Acer model.

I know what some people are thinking.  "Wow! $28/month for a corporate laptop?!?"  Hold on, now. Even if large companies are attracted to the possible capital investment advantages, the $28/month may cost significantly more than that. I think sourcing professionals really need to investigate the economic scenarios to help build the TCO. From a large enterprise sourcing perspective, here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. If you're going to roll out a pilot program, identify additional support costs, if any. Will you need more staff to support questions on this new platform? How much would it cost? Google will be providing 24×7 support via email and phone support. But how deep? What are the typical issue resolution times? How does that compare to your internal SLAs? Monetize the difference to understand if a benefit exists.
  2. Similarly, what happens at the end of the term and you can't find your Chromebook? How much will it cost for a late return/no return? I would revisit my company's asset management capabilities to see if this would be an issue. According to Google, you're on a 36-month term that automatically renews if you don't give notice 15 days prior to the end of the term. If you don't give notice, you receive the "same class of hardware and service that you purchased in the previous term."
  3. The latest information shared indicates the Chromebook will not run traditional software right away. Software will be run through web apps that you can download from the Chrome Web Store. Will there be additional savings in software? Will this new offering alleviate any software audit pains?

It's still early, and when it's released, I'll make sure to read through more of the amended details in the Google enterprise contracts. I expect more details to emerge between now and June 15. 

Are you thinking about running a pilot program? If you are, please share your thoughts or reach out to me directly, as I'll be keeping a watchful eye on this development.