The Stipend is making a comeback in the IT dialog.
Many businesses are considering stipends as a future consideration. This is of course tied back to the BYOC discussion we have been having in our blog lately.
First the disclaimer, the contents and opinions on this blog are mine and do not reflect those of my employer.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (11th Edition) defines stipend as follows: "a fixed sum of money paid periodically for services or to defray expenses". No one can argue with this definition, after all it is from a dictionary. But for IT, it seems to me that the definition presents some interesting scenarios.
First, as an IT strategy, the assumption is that a stipend defers something, but precisely what? It is not clear that to IT a stipend enables an exit of any lifecycle operations. It may actually increase the complexities and support costs.
Second, the fact that a stipend is a fix periodic sum suggests an on going commitment. If so, for how much and for how long. The technology refresh cycle in our industry is faster than ever before. Is the stipend an on going commitment?
The third point is that for whom are stipends readied for? It may seem exclusionary to offer a stipend to one group and not another.
Lastly, are stipends a benefit that needs to be taxed? Questions such as property tax, sales tax, and such are not trivial over sights.
Stipends suggests choice in the end user selecting a product/service, but not necessarily the governance model.
For example product "A" may be a great consumer like product, but add the corporate image, email, encryption, asset tracking agent, etc. it may not perform the same way as a consumer device. Add to that the governance about disposing of the device and the cleansing, which costs may not included in the stipend.
Stipend sounds like a "Seinfeld" episode. Stipend is my money, but once you tell me how to spend it, it is really your money that you want me to spend as you want me to. Seems to be a bit of a contradiction in terms.
At the end of the day, the stipend may be about good will and not about the economics.
What do you think about stipends?
I was raking leaves over the weekend, autumn in New England, and thought of an analogy. If there were a $200 stipend for a leaf blower that I could take advatage of compared to using the $200 and buying a $25 rake, I might defer to the rake, making $175. However, when all the leaves fell at once, I realized that I would have prefered the leaf blower, but alas I likely spent the $175. Therefore, I live with a less than optimal decision even though it seemed good at the time.
Thank goodness I do not have to make this choice often.