Smartphones

Sanity check: Should IT support user-owned smartphones?

As users bring consumer technologies into the enterprise, it puts a lot of pressure on IT departments. The situation is most acute with smartphones. Should IT support user-owned smartphones? Can it be a win-win? Are there best practices? Get some answers.

The issue of IT departments supporting user-owned smartphones is such a hot topic right now that at the Gartner Mobile & Wireless Summit last week there was no less than three sessions in which it became one of the primary topics, and there were a lot of other sessions where the issue was abundantly discussed.

Meanwhile, as the Gartner conference was wrapping up in Chicago on Thursday, out in San Francisco, Apple was announcing an SDK and a business-class upgrade for the iPhone -- perhaps the most visible smartphone that users have been bringing into the enterprise on their own.

Apple's senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, explains how the iPhone will sync with Microsoft Exchange using ActiveSync technology. Credit: Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

As a result, I thought it would be useful to take a look at the conventional wisdom that has developed around IT departments supporting user-owned smartphones. We'll take a quick peak at the mobile enterprise landscape, look at whether IT can afford to say 'No' to user-owned smartphones, and then consider some best practices for IT departments that do decide to allow and support these devices.

The mobile enterprise

There are approximately three billion mobile phones in use in the world today, and 70% of businesses are using mobility in some way, but only 17% of those businesses have company-wide initiatives to manage mobile phones. For those who do manage it, they run into the question of whether to make it part of the telecom or facilities department or the traditional IT help desk. Either way, friction typically arises.

"There is a natural tension of opposites in enterprise mobility between what the user wants and what IT wants," said Jim Somers, Vice President of Marketing for Antenna Software.

There is also tension between mobile operators and businesses, as operators see smartphones powering their next growth boom with applications. "Remember how much money [the carriers] made on mobile e-mail? They want to repeat that with mobile applications," said Somers.

It's also noteworthy that there are important differences between enterprise and consumer smartphones.

Gartner VP Distinguished Analyst Nick Jones said, "Innovation in the consumer space runs a lot faster than the corporate space." Specifically addressing the iPhone, he said, "Nothing that corporate IT ever delivers is as easy as the iPhone."

In their presentation, "Riding the Consumerization Wave," Jones and fellow Gartner analyst Monica Basso pointed out the following differences between enterprise-grade smartphones and consumer-grade devices.

Credit: Gartner (Monica Basso and Nick Jones)

Can you say 'No' to user-owned devices?

Gartner analysts feel strongly that trying to ban user-owned smartphones won't work and is not productive. Here are a few quotes:

Nick Jones: "Make sure you have a strategy in place for employee-owned devices. Most of us can't afford to say, 'No.'"

Nick Jones (again): "You can't ban consumer mobile devices. It will just happen behind the scenes without you knowing about it."

Monica Basso, Gartner Research Vice President: "Consumers love these products and they'll use them whether you want them to or not."

Ken Dulaney: "Attempts by IT to prevent the use of handhelds has largely failed because of the number of tools to work around IT policies."

Credit: Gartner (Monica Basso and Nick Jones)

However, in high-security and highly-regulated environments, I think it's not only possible to say 'No' but highly advisable. A few examples: government jobs dealing with classified information, health care environments dealing with patient records, and financial services dealing with sensitive company information.

For cases such as these, it would be much better to implement a standard, enterprise-class solution such as the ones from Research in Motion (BlackBerry), Windows Mobile, and Good Technology.

Best practices for supporting user-owned devices

For IT departments that do decide to support employee-owned smartphones, the Gartner analysts suggested some best practices. The suggestions from Jones are represented in the slide below.

Credit: Gartner (Nick Jones)

Gartner also predicted that by 2012, 30% of knowledge workers in the United States and Europe will access corporate data from a personal mobile device at least one time per week.

"As you see this flood of devices coming into the enterprise, you can no longer have the kinds of standards you've had in the past," said Ken Dulaney, Gartner VP Distinguished Analyst. Thus, Dulaney recommends a "Managed Diversity" approach (see below).

Credit: Gartner (Ken Dulaney)

Wrap-up

If IT departments are going to support employee smartphones -- and it's a good idea for those not in high-security or highly-regulated environments -- then I think they should follow a few basic guidelines:

  • Avoid saving corporate data on the employee device
  • Use VPN and thin client software whenever possible
  • Enforce policies to minimize access to only needed services and apps
  • Require user training so that they understand the risks involved

What do you think about IT departments supporting user-owned smartphones? Join the discussion.

Of course, one of the most common cases where this comes up is with the iPhone. Read iPhone in your business: Pondering the ROI case from my colleague Larry Dignan over at ZDNet. Apple's iPhone developments last week will make it more palatable to IT departments, but there are really only two advantages for the iPhone over existing smartphones -- better usability and better performance with Web-based applications.

Since the iPhone is more expensive than other comparable phones, will those two benefits be enough for IT departments to adopt it? I doubt it, at least not in large numbers, unless Web-based apps really take off. Please take these two TechRepublic polls on the iPhone:

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

120 comments
Jack-M
Jack-M

If not us(IT pros)then who? If not now,then when? With millions of mobile devices in use today, and millions more coming tomorrow the idea of saying no to the jobs/revenue that will be generated fixing these gadgets is crazy. If United States IT groups don't jump on this do you think India and China will sit idly by while we twiddle our thumbs waiting for the ever more reliable items were familiar with to break. It may be a long wait.The only rational thing to do is to start now educating manufacturers to all the pluses of standardization and training the IT workforce of today and tomorrow on the repair of these gadgets. With the exception of some very high end models they aren't that complicated and educational institutions should begin today offering a curriculum covering this aspect of Information Technology.............Jack

Jack-M
Jack-M

If not us(IT pros)then who? If not now,then when? With millions of mobile devices in use today, and millions more coming tomorrow the idea of saying no to the jobs/revenue that will be generated fixing these gadgets is crazy. If US IT groups don't jump on this do you think India and China will sit idly by while we twiddle our thumbs waiting for the ever more reliable items were familiar with to break. It may be a long wait.The only rational thing to do is to start now educating manufacturers to all the pluses of standardization and training the IT workforce of today and tomorrow on the repair of these gadgets. With the exception of some very high end models they aren't that complicated and education institutions should begin today offering a curriculum covering this aspect of Information Technology.

ilk_t
ilk_t

In state run agencies where the government has been embarrased by the loss of confidential information on laptops, they are emploring stricter rules for security on the devices that connect to the network. This also includes smart phones. Recently we changed policies and had all employees receive a copy of them and sign a form stating they read and understand the policies. And as we all know, not many users actually take the time to read through all of the policies, because inside was the new policy stating that nothing that is not state owned can be installed on or connected to any state hardware. So even though I was saving my department money by using my own smart phone and paying for the service myself, they told me I could not connect it to my work email anymore. So now the state has to pay for all of the phones and fees for those who need them. Way to save the taxpayers money.....it is said all in the name of security.

DailyWTF
DailyWTF

Absolutely not. These users can come in on the weekends and at night to apply patches, fix bugs, wipe out virus and worms, and so forth - for their "conveniences"... "Walk a mile in another man's shoes..........."

Darkpawn5
Darkpawn5

No, I had a user once ask me for assistance on her cellular telephone about why she was not getting email on it. I said I would take a look at it....10-15 minutes later I suggested contacting her provider. A company policy should be written to exclude any personal cellular telephones support, this includes the top person. However, I have worked on people's personal PC's and they are happy to pay me or buy me lunch which is okay.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

First, IT doesn't get to make that decision here. The big shots do. IT supports the org. If the bosses want to support personal devices (in a legal way) we will. That leads to the second. I don't have a friggin clue about blackberries, smartphones, etc. If the boss wants IT to support such then either he hires someone who can support them or gets me some training, preferrably both.

melekali
melekali

When IT departments are required to service privately owned smart phones, you open a wide array of serious potential problems including but not limited to lawsuits because the IT department has "broken my blackberry!" or some other nonsense like that. If it is done, I would personally have the user sign a statement binding him or her to not have any recourse should something go wrong with or break on the smart phone. There are also simply too many available devices to expect the department to be able to keep up with the ability to perform repairs and keep everything working. Better, if the company feels they want their employees to have these hand held devices, it ought to be only business devices that are supported so there can be a continuity of manufacturers with standardized training for repair, a standard suite of software loaded and control over what is put on the phone. If the IT department has no control over what is put on the phones and that device connects to my network and provides a lovely piece of malware that maps my network and successfully sends that data out (or God knows what else), we are looking at a security nightmare of gargantuan proportions for company data and hardware/software.

dlmeyer
dlmeyer

Somehow, I just KNEW the iPhone SDK would lead in this story. Why ask the question if there wasn't a threat from Apple looming on the horizon? When I was working at a certain financial institution, I was required to work from home one day a week. That, or stay into the wee hours of the AM 20+ miles from home. The company wanted me to a) buy a PC to work from and b) switch to cable. They would not "support" my Mac and they were certain DSL simply would not work. I submitted to the cable demand - after proving that DSL did work - but told them if they wanted me to use a PC they would have to provide it. Sorry ... grumbling. On Topic: IT departments should "support" devices THEY provide. IT should provide "safe" ways for non-supported devices to access their systems. IT departments should NEVER deny a user-owned device without testing up front. It is unreasonable for IT to be expected to fully support a user-owned device, but it is just as unreasonable for IT to stonewall a user asking for some HELP. If the server is down, ADMIT IT! If they are using the wrong address, HELP them. This is supporting the USER, not the device.

heimbig
heimbig

"the heightened accountability by the IRS for the taxability of the employer-provided cell phone when documentation fails to substantiate the total ???business use??? of this ???listed property.??? In other words, if an employee fails to document every call made from an employer provided cell phone, including the business purpose for each call, the entire cost of the monthly cell phone service plus the fair market value of the phone is taxable to the employee."

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

This is a method of deleting files that will not delete with any other method.Locate the exact file>Right click the file>Left click Rename>and rename the file.If you have many files you may want to name them in some sort of order like 1,2,3 and so on.After renaming the file changes its type to one of these postage stamp type files.Then> Left click START and reboot.Find the file again,remember that it has been renamed then>Right click the file>Left click Delete.The file now goes to the recycle bin and the bin can be emptied.Right click the Recycle Bin>Left click Empty Recycle Bin.This method worked every time for me.

dean.owen
dean.owen

25 years ago it was people bringing MACs & PCs to work, then cell phones, then cheap colour inkjet printers, then Win95, then PDA's . . .we tried the Gartner best practices through SLAs with the PDAs and it worked (although security of data was an issue - "why can't I download my email and contacts list? What's the point of having a PDA then?"). Lack of (public) support for restrictions from senior executives (although in private they were all for it) and finally with a change in IT managers -the SLAs were tossed out and full support was offered (for a short time BTW-they would agree to anything the users would ask for but behind closed doors in IT meetings they told us to assign these requests a low priority and avoid them if possible). It's a tough one for sure. My experience has been this: don't offer support, but if you do - allow your IT staff the time to do it. Don't expect them to just add it to their existing workload and still expect their other tasks to be completed on time.

CoeMah2
CoeMah2

I just flatly state that it's not an IT supported device and any help they would like has to come from the devices tech support -- they grimace and walk away. I have had my boss walk in and ask me to work on something like this. I just look at him and say -- 2 of us -- 500 of them -- when I get some spare time!

roblesj
roblesj

From a legal point of view, any device that holds company information is liable to be part of a legal discovery process. You forfeight any rights to your device when it becomes part of the evidence. My advice? Don't use private devices for company work.

doke
doke

Our experience here at a small City is that people bring their own gizmos in, digital cameras, laptop, etc. They want to use it for business purposes. When they break it, drop it down a manhole, etc. they now 'use it for business', and expect the City to replace it with the device of their choice, at whatever cost they wish. To the best of our ability we don't allow people to bring in their own equipment. If they have a business need to use technology for their jobs, the business needs to provide that technology.

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

There are a few upsides to these devices if you handle them properly. Blackberry would be my choice and having our own Blackberry server has worked out nicely. We can force policies and even monitor web browsing if needed and we maintain the licensing to avoid non-compliance issues. We do have some personal Blackberry's, but the Blackberry user licenses are paid for by the individual's department. Generally the department will also pay the user's data charges with a set amount per month. This is generally less cost to the organization then paying for the entire device and service for each employee. I personally have one of the new VX6800 smartphones from Verizon and I love it. But trying to support a fleet of these with VPNs and Wi-Fi would be a nightmare. We would have to limit connectivity to the PC based Activesync.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We all treat personal equipment the same way, be it phones, laptops, desktops, printers, etc. We'll make one attempt to get the device working. After that, see your supervisor and convince him / her why you need this functionality and why IT should issue a company-approved device for your use.

jozhall
jozhall

The last thing that I enjoy doing is giving support to a user's personal device. But, at the same time I know that some times its unavoidable. For example at the real estate company that I work at many of the sales agents have Palm Trios. This is because there is an application for the Trio that can open up Realtors' lock boxes using an IR signal. Its a great piece of technology because it saves folks from carrying around a million keys. However, because all of the agents are "free agents" at our company everyone purchases their own Trio. This isn't that big a deal other than the fact that when installing the key software and giving support I have to deal with someone's personal device which means that I have to sort through their personal applications and information. I also run the risk of damaging their devices if something goes wrong. But, its my job!

Nice Techie
Nice Techie

I support enough equipment as it is for what I am paid. User owned smart phones shouldn't be supported unless we, as the IT Pros, get compensated for it. It is bad enough our user's expect us to know everything about everything on their computers. I am not going to support their flippin phones too.

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

Forum, baby, that is what the SLA is about. You write it to say that you don't support the device only the synchronization, and then only if they use the OS and software you specify and you have them purchase the license through you. That way you don't support the device and you specify no guarantees with SMART phones. Trust me, it works if you communicate it well and have them acknowledge the SLA before you do any work.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

You've made a good point for commercial repair and support outfits like Geek Squad, etc. and I agree with the education aspects, but those same points are EXACTLY why the answer whould be a resounding NO for corporate IT departments. Having to hire/train bodies to handle all the different "gadgets" that are out there would add a large expense to already stressed IT budgets. When the client is an employee within your own company, "fixing these gadgets" does not generate revenue, it generates expense. Adding all sorts of different support software packages, drivers, etc. would add unnecessary complexity to the corporate computing environment and create additional points of failure and security risks. There is great wisdom in the K.I.S.S. principle.

armstrongb
armstrongb

I think a good SLA and a policy on what types of support can work. But in situations where proprietary info is at risk then perhaps the organization should consider issuing a standard smartphone. Do not discount the security issue. If your personal records on your device were shared on the network at work would you be happy about that? Do you really want your co-workers to access your personal device? Remember, access can be a 2 way street. Seriously, I want my personal world to stay personal when I leave the workplace. The other part I don't understand is why would anyone want to burn their minutes that they pay for out of pocket for the job? Do you really need to get your email when not at work? I know I can say no to that. But if I were on the road then my answer would be different. A tough problem, but I think the Gartner folks are way off base. As they usually are. Nice scam they got going.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

You should always walk a mile in another man's shoes before criticizing him. If anything, it gives you a mile headstart and leaves him barefoot :) Seriously, there is definitely what I call the "rabbit out of the hat" syndrome. Because an IT person or depratment has been able to work some miracle in the past and get something working, people assume that everything can be fixed just as easily. Sooner or later, you'll reach for that rabbit, find the hat empty, and have the users in an upset.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

IT departments should "support" devices THEY provide. - Yes. absolutely correct IT should provide "safe" ways for non-supported devices to access their systems. - A non-supported device is not safe, and to provide a way for them to access the system would constitute supporting them, a bit of a contradiction don't you think? IT departments should NEVER deny a user-owned device without testing up front. - No, IT departments should ALWAYS deny a user-owned device until it has been tested. Allowing users to connect any device they want to the network is asking for catastrophe. A great example of this was an accounting group in my last company that decided to split a network connection so that visiting employees and consultants could quickly plug into the network. Instead of requesting IT to set it up properly for them, they purchased and plugged in a small consumer grade router. Unfortunately, the router was configured for DHCP and fouled up the network connections for hundreds of people until IT was able to detect the cause, where upon it was immediately confiscated. I have seen improperly configured Palm Pilots create duplicatation and replication errors in the corporate address book, as well as foul up local mailboxes. One user trying to circumvent the restrictions decided to create a rule that would forward all his company mail to his personal email account and ended up creating a mail routing loop that generated over 3GB of traffic before it was found and stopped. Let IT do its job.

tim
tim

Sometimes the reason you can't delete a file is because it is in use. If you can identify it, you can kill it in task manager and then delete it. Otherwise, boot into safe mode and delete it there. But what you described actually works. You may not be able to delete it, but you can rename it. On the the next reboot, whatever was trying to load it into memory can no longer find it. So you can then delete it. This works great on files used by viruses and spyware. Once you identify them, you can delete them without having to go into safe mode. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Thanks Balthor! But what the heck does this have to do with Smartphones?

majohnson
majohnson

Not at all. The key word here is "personal". The line has to be drawn in IT as to what is supported and not supported. If it doesn't belong to the company then the company has no obligation to support it.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

is a small fraction of the operating costs for most devices. We get BlackBerrys from our carrier at a cost of about one month's service fees or less. If you are already paying for the blades and shaving cream, then just buy the razor (pun intended) and have done with it.

stevezawicki
stevezawicki

Sean - I think you are right on. I would love to talk to you further about how you are doing this more specifically.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

We don't want to go digitalfrog's route and become luddites.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

"Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler." Are we IT professionals or luddites? The business potential for integrating personal devices is enormous. There is more to generating revenue than generating revenue. Efficiencies from supporting personal devices will reap benefits not even considered today. we can not afford to be dragging our heels on this

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

Well said M! SLA, that is the ticket. Write an SLA and offer your customers choices. If they want what the business is offering in the way of hardware then the hardware is covered, that allows you to make the choice on who, what, where and how you will offer support. If they want to purchase their own then tell them they are on their own for hardware support, you'll just keep the server up or provide them some syncing software. We've been doing it for years with PDA's and it works great. Smart phones don't have to be any different if you make sure your SLA is clearly written.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

It means making the devices dumb terminals when it comes to network applications, but it really is easy to do, there are other methods we use, but those are trade secrets.

jheisler1
jheisler1

We do it to in Canada, USA, Argentina and China, and it is not that hard to manage. I have yet to have to spend more then 20 or 30 min helping someone, and most of the time it is a simple reset. Once you enable the user how to reset, and recreate an account they can do it themselves. Innovation and empowerment is key, tempered with security that does not cripple.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Yes, my small business background included Dow Jones, Merrill Lynch, AT&T, and Siemens. We do it now, and it's not hard at all. The solution is quite easy, but I'll not share trade secrets with luddites today. Oh, and if you don't like a bloody nose, stay out of the ring, you tossed the first insults, so don't Pi$$ and moan when you get it back. Now go back to throwing wrenches into the machinary.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

Ignoring your poor attempts at crass humor, you said above: "There is this new invention called the *internet* that does not require a user's device to be connected to any production systems to receive incoming items such as email alerts." OK brightspark, where do you think a business' email is stored - in the corporate production system where it is secure and compliant with SOX, etc. or on the internet where it is exposed? I work in an industry where most there is a large concern with industrial espionage, the old POP3 and SMTP protocols that many of the consumer based smartphones still use just don't cut it. You obviously come from a small business background where corporate data security and stability has never been a big concern. I hope IT isn't your day job, I can see why you are grasping at any angle you can to keep it.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Like one of the others mentioned...to me it's all about standardizations and following company policies. If the user actually needsa asmart phone and follows company policies to get one, then they shall have it and I shall support it. Supporting private smart phones is hardly innovative at all, it doesn't take an IT vituoso to support the thing...it's pretty simple stuff. But if someone just "wants" one and can't demonstrate to management the need well then they should just do without as it obviously isn't a neccessity. I see absolutely no difference between doing this and supporting the user's personal laptop. Just doesn't seem like good security practice. I would also venture to say it depends on your organization. If you're a small-time company not too concerned with sensitve data or security...then go for it. Enterprise or government level...then this sounds like a bad idea.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

Because I doubt you're taking all the variables into account. For instance, you're likely not accounting for what it is going to cost you when a security breach happens because of one of those nonstandard devices. What happens when a customer's identity gets stolen from a sub-standard, non-secure "Personal" smartphone? In all 50 states, the answer is: You get sued. How much are you budgeting for that? And are you counting "learning" time for each device--one smartphone is NOT the same as the next... They support standards and protocols at varying levels of earnest--while most phones probably can be added to Active Sync in less than 15 minutes total, how many devices per year that take 8+ hours of troubleshooting, just to get AS to work with it, will it take to blow your "savings"? Are you even counting your own labor? Manpower is ALWAYS the most expensive part of any project--do your "savings" reflect that?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

and it's working so well that we've managed to increase efficiency and come under budget by 4% Sorry, While you pi$$ and moan, we're pulling ahead. try not to choke on our dust.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

...but there's nothing innovative about wasting your company's time and money. Professional IT departments standardize on a device and use that for EVERYBODY. Amateurs let users bring whatever they want and try to "Figure it out" as they go. Its ok, though. The more time you waste setting up non-standard and "one-off" devices for people who can't be bothered to follow the established policies, the sooner you'll realize how utterly misguided you are. Unfortunately for you, you won't recognize the situation until it has already blown up in your face and you have to work allrweekend pulling one of your "non-standard" users out of the fire. I think you'll change your tune at that point.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

While he's dragging his heels, the rest of us will innovate.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

While I can understand your fear of the new, scary technologies out there, they are here. your posts are full of ASSumptions. There is this new invention called the *internet* that does not require a user's device to be connected to any production systems to receive incoming items such as email alerts. Some people who aren't hiding under their beds from the technology are actually sending emails from production systems to end-users cell phones and PDAs. So, while you play "Mordoc, preventer of technology", the rest of us will continue to innovate.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I disagree with allowing any user purchased products being used as part of the corporate network. It interferes with the other legit SLA's I already have worked hard to get in place. I don't want to my people helping Joe Schmo with his smartphone (that he only wants because "everyone else has one") when I could be helping someone with a genuine work related issue. Suppose I or someone on my team miss an SLA because of this? It's just not acceptable to me.

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

"That is why we have IT policies and SLA's" Your making a grown man cry Froggy. It's music to my ears and I think we are on the same page. Whew! You had me scared for a minute. I think your the only other person on this blog that has even dared use the SLA acronym, or knows what it means, with the exception of me, of course. Although this might not be your support item of choice, I think we both understand that setting the stage and documenting the who, what, where, when, and how we support our customers is paramount. I don't care if my customers agree 100% as long as I can show the powers that be the costs behind doing it any other way. - You have Snatched the pepple from my hand, it is now time for you to school others. You go Froggy! you Non-Luddite! ps. I really don't know what luddite means either. I'm off to dictionary.com.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

I've been going for about 28 years, long enough to learn from both mine and others mistakes. Yes, some users are becoming more savvy, unfortunately, they are still way way in the minority in many companies. There are people who I would definitely give a break to, there are others I trust less than a BestBuy salesman. And don't get me started on the "no longer the untrained and non-tech peasants of old" a number of those years were spent as a technical trainer. You'd be surprised at what is still out there. People often buy tech for what it does for them, and without thought for what it might do to others. That is why we have IT policies and SLAs.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

"I do not think that word means what you think it means" I am not a luddite, I am just an anti-anarchist. When software and ahrdware companies coordiante their products so that everything can work together without issues, I will be happy to support anything that comes in the door. Nowhere in any of my posts did I say that IT should not look at new devices, What I have been trying to say, and is totally missed by those like you that have probably never had to deal with real IT problems, is that new devices should be tested and checked for problems before being connected to the system. I have been involved as an early adopter in a number of products, but none get connected to production systems without getting checked out.

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

"Maybe you should get a government job instead where they seem to go for that kind of thinking." I am in a government IT job and have been for the last 10 years. However, I also spent 12 years working for companies like Chase Bank, Olin Chemical, US Airways and the US. Navy (22 years still going). With that background I feel confident that my experience in all of these arenas makes me qualified to say, "I think your living in fear." But, fear not young Techie, your geek buddies are here to help. Say this with me, "Users are our Friends, if it weren't for them we would be unemployed." I say that tongue-in-cheek but I'm serious when I say that things are changing and users are becoming more savvy. They are no longer the untrained and non-tech peasants of old. They are also running these companies and will soon realize that they can get the service from you or someone else and maybe that someone else will be more open to their wants and desires. If you want to ensure it is you, I recommend that you start looking into SLA's that don't necessarily agree to support everything, but will give the customer some choices with their technology. Good Luck young Grasshopper, - I am confident that when you are ready you will snatch the pepple from my hand. Sensai

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

We support business, PERIOD. If you want to play "Mordoc, preventer of technology" go ahead. My company is already seeing a ROI, and it's not nearly as complex as a luddite such as yourself would imagine it to be, there are any number of methods to control it that are quite simple. IT *is* a service, folks you tend to forget it. Worse still, you express the dated thinking of the 80s and 90s when IT demanded that the business fit their problems to our solutions. You can run with the big dogs or stay on the porch. I hope you're not there when the porch collapses.

DigitalFrog
DigitalFrog

"Efficiencies from supporting personal devices will reap benefits not even considered today." And the problems created by a non-standardized environment can kill a business before it survives to reach tomorrow. You are still stuck in the retail service model. If you are an ISP, or service shop like BestBuy, GeekSquad, etc. then absolutely you should be looking at supporting any device that comes along. It just does not wash in a corporate IT environment. New devices should be considered, yes, and evaluated for ROI vs. the problems it may create, but it should never be a guaranteed "yes, we will support what ever you bring in". Any CIO or senior manager worth their salt should be able to recognize the attempts by IT to create job security through complexity. Maybe you should get a government job instead where they seem to go for that kind of thinking.

sean.mcnulty
sean.mcnulty

That is what I'm talking about. We can facilitate technology or be left behind with no Cheese. I'm going with the Cheese and I don't really care who moved it or why.

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