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How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

By drew.mcbee ·
We have a number sales reps, etc all over the country. We are getting an increasing number of requests for laptops, and some are hard to justify. Some want the device because its a status symbol to them, and some can really use it. We want to develop a "qualification criteria" so we can say yes this person needs it and no this person does not. My question is - has anyone already worked out a general set of criteria that we can build on (ie - qualified person A is mobile 50% of the time or more, and needs relatively easy access to the internet from a remote location...)?

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Make it someone else's budget concern

by Cactus Pete In reply to How do I determine who RE ...

If their boss gets an allocation of X $$ for the employees under said manager, let them decide who gets laptops, and who gets desktops with some other remote connectivity device.

This worked pretty well for us. It keeps you from stepping on the wrong toes and interfering with legitimate business needs, and puts the responsibility on the person most responsible. Employees can't really argue with budgets, so they tend to accept this.

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Concur - Best Advice

by Wayne M. In reply to Make it someone else's bu ...

I hope everyone will go back and reread the excellent advice.

Do not get caught in the no win situtation of trying to determine who "needs" a laptop. If the direct manager wants to hand out laptops as atta-boys, that is his concern. It may be appropriate to track the costs incurred due to the laptops, but the same tracking needs to apply to desktops as well.

The decision of who gets a laptop and why individuals qualify is the responsibility of the line management. If there are any complaints on the fairness of laptop distribution, let them be handled by the manager, believe, you really do not want to get involved.

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exactly right.

by hmx In reply to Concur - Best Advice

Line management should be handling this--their management should be providing them with budget for computing resources for their staff. To make line management decide this without regard to budget opens the door to chaos. Legitimate requests for budget extensions can be handled in the usual ways, and all of the politics and drama is not in your court.

of course, this presumes you have a standards list ... so when you say "laptop" you mean "one of the laptops on this list which we have the tools to support" and not "sexiest laptop on the market the day a decision was made ... "

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Right on, but...

by BlueKnight In reply to Concur - Best Advice

I agree... let their manager decide who gets them. Your concern, assuming it's your area, is that those laptop users access your corporate network according to established rules and security policies.

In my shop, laptops are few. Only those who must frequently provide customer support on an "on-call" basis, or who have a legitimate business need to frequently work remotely get laptops. All others are issued desktops systems. Period...
And nobody has complained.

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Both share a part

by nsim3008 In reply to Right on, but...

I definitely agree that it's management responsiblity to decide who gets a laptop, but i would give management a little advice about IT safety, remote access options, repair costs, etc., so that they could make responsible decisions not just hasty ones.

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by cdban66 In reply to Make it someone else's bu ...

We are currently going through the same thing with Blackberries. We were asked for input, made recommendations based on need (out of the office, 24x7 connectivity, etc) and waited. We always try to present things from a business need/cost justification standpoint. If upper management wants to give them out as prizes, etc then we're OK with that(what choice do we have). Hey, I'm sure you've seen worse attaboys to top sales performers. We draw the line at support. No one in the company should ever expect more out of IT then they expect out of themselves. Having said that, we do inevitably get calls on stuff at odd times. Our standard answer is to ask if it can wait until business hours. If they say no, then they are told that I'll have to get overtime approved from my boss. If that doesn't cause them to pause, I'll call and get approval from my boss, which inevitably gets the message across.

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Mostly Agree

by jayallen7502 In reply to Agreed

I agree with everyone responding that it is a bad idea for IT to be
decision-maker for distribution of equipment. The department
supervisor is the one who (should) best know their business and
identify who does the heavy-lifting in their team. IT?s value is
recommending the right technology to fit the specified needs of
the users.
Another consideration however is that the gap in cost of a laptop
and a desktop have decreased to the point that if you factor in
the increase of communication, extended work hours, improved
customer service, there really is not much reason to be stingy
with doling out the laptops any longer.
My agency has been issuing laptops to account service or ?sales?
positions for a couple years now, even to those who do not
travel much. We anticipated that there would be a marked
increase in repairs, however this has turned out not as bad as we

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Sell the power!

by yumadome In reply to Mostly Agree

I agree on the idea of letting the supervisors determine who gets what but another approach (or a complimentary one) is that you might remind them that except in extreme circumstances, the desktop is likely to be far more powerful.
When you get a whiner, just remind them that while a typical new desktop might handle it, the laptop is never going to run Half-Life 2 properly! (ok... maybe that's not the best example to use :)


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Follow up

by axf In reply to Agreed

Im going through the same process with Blackberries, and am quite keen on your reasoning in your Blackberry business case.

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Not your responsibility

by dlewellyn In reply to Make it someone else's bu ...

I have been on both sides of this fence as an IT manager and as President of a large corporation. Decisions on who should have a laptop is the responsibility of management not the IT Manager. You should make management aware of any impact their decision will have on your department but management is responsible for determining personnel and equipment requirements to meet their department/management goals.

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