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  • #2189896

    How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

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    by drew.mcbee-tradesmeninternational ·

    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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    • #3065253

      Make it someone else’s budget concern

      by cactus pete ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      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.

      • #3059414

        Concur – Best Advice

        by wayne m. ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        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.

        • #3062283

          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 … “

        • #3061578

          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.

        • #3069147

          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.

      • #3062279

        Agreed

        by cdban66 ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        We are currently going through the same thing with Blackberries. We were asked for input, made recommendations based on need (out of the office, 24×7 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.

        • #3057115

          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
          thought.

        • #3063488

          Sell the power!

          by yumadome9 ·

          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 🙂

          Mark

        • #3061576

          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.

      • #3062267

        Not your responsibility

        by dlewellyn ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        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.

        • #3057028

          Do managers know what equipment people need?

          by akalich ·

          In reply to Not your responsibility

          While I agree with dlewellyn to a point, it’s been my experience that most managers don’t have a clue as to the hardware their people need for their jobs. It often depends on how “IT smart” the specific manager is. My group frequently upgrades specific individuals or groups because we know their equipment isn’t doing the best job for them. After all, we get the cranky calls when things break or are slow, etc. I just (finally) convinced one of our execs to pop for laptops for his sales people who not only work completely remote, but travel constantly. I could go on…but won’t. I think we’re dealing with a good theory and a not-so-good reality.

        • #3056977

          Set Specifications

          by hadg ·

          In reply to Do managers know what equipment people need?

          One way to prevent supporting different brands or adding cards, etc. is to set specifications, and even have approved vendors from where a department can procure laptops. Talking to vendors also helps. By providing your default spec’s to a vendor, the vendor feels comfortable making reccomendations to other deparmtents knowing that the risk of having a product returned is minimized.

      • #3062250

        Totally agree

        by cp7212 ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        Because even if you say Person A can have one and Person B can’t, there will be two issues with this regarding a manager. It will still have to go through the budget and Person B will go to the manager, complaining why YOU didn’t give the person a laptop. You don’t want that can of worms opened.

        If you make it a budget issue, the manager will have to deal with it. Then the manager can deal with the employees getting/not getting a laptop. This is the way it should be and this is what our company did. Once you bring the $$$ into the game, your responsibility will change.

      • #3057156

        Its simple

        by bea94457 ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        The sales man that on the road 50 percent of the time and with the most sales get the laptops it would make others strive to be the top sellers,

      • #3057138

        I also agree…it’s all about the $$

        by bluegiant ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        My advice is to not get in the middle of this battle. As dpetrak says, computer hardware should be a part of the individual manager’s (departments) budget. They are responsible for the spending and are accountable for the results of their staff. This is how it is done where I work.

        The general rule here is that outside sales people, managers, and IT staff are supplied with laptops due to the amount of work we do at home or traveling. Also, anyone else that has a demonstrated need to work remotely receives a laptop at their manager’s discretion. We in IT will make recommendations, but the final decision rests with the managers.

        Hope this helps,

        Mark

      • #3057055

        Leave it to the boss

        by crash84 ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        When a needed laptop issue arises, we consult the employees manager. Who better than the guys boss to know if he really has a need for a portable computer. Also it is our policy that if you have a laptop you don’t need a desktop also. But if the manager says give the guy a laptop we do, as IT it isn’t really our job to say who gets one and who doesn’t it is just our job to support them.

      • #3056895

        Absolutely! No IT cops.

        by sr10 ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        Why should you be the bad guy? The only way to win this game is not to play. The end user’s budgetary manager signs off on the request and appropriates the money. You do what your users want provided they have a properly approved request.

        You say Joe Schmuck wants a wireless laptop so he can get real time traffic reports in his car on his way to Browns’ games? Not your pig, not your farm. If some VP will approve it, he can have it. If not, not.

      • #3056843

        Make them Justify it

        by itadmins ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        If you have a capital approval process let them right out the justification and get management approval based on what your company approval limits are. When you throw in the cost for software licences etc then it is a significant cost they are having to justify. The onus should be on them to justify to management.

      • #3061525

        Right in principle but…

        by mfarlie ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        Definitely the line manager’s budget concern but what if you are responsible for upgrading PCs across all regions in your company? I had this last year when the group policiy required upgrading all PCs for users of one of our systems worldwide. Justifying laptops proved the most contentious.
        Each line manager must approve laptop purchases for his staff but persuasion (arm-twisting) may be required.
        Ultimately you need a senior manager or director who can overrule an individual manager when persuasion fails. Only then can a group-wide project succeed.

      • #3061654

        DESKTOPS? Who needs em!?

        by mia1bxa ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        dpetrak, you failed to see a critical point here. Who really needs desktops?

        Laptops are cheaper than ever.

        “But you cant upgrade a laptop!” You might say.

        Business desktops in large corporations rarely if ever get updated or upgraded. They get used and thrown away when outmoded.

        Laptops can not be updated, not really, and when obsolete they can get donated to a school for full price tax write off. Kinda the same as desktops except schools are much more likely to get great use out of laptops by letting the students use them, they are used and old and not really a security threat if dropped or broken. But the kids will love them.

        When you need to move a desktop its a big deal with hours of work to get everything just right, not to mention the cable management could take, if your a good tech, 20 minuets.

        To move a Laptop you just… move. Most are wireless in every way except power. No LAN drop cost, no switch/router upgrade cost because you ran out of ports…

        Most desktops now days come with LCD screens that last 2 or 3 years. Kinda the same as a laptop.

        I could go on and on showing how the two kinds of PC’s are similar with more management and IT positives going to the laptop format, but its dinner time and my wife is tapping her toe… Its her seductive, sexy toe… See ya! 🙂

      • #3071889

        100 dollar laptops

        by geekmtl ·

        In reply to Make it someone else’s budget concern

        this is the answer to you problem they are dirt cheap and they will be avalible in a few months probobly

    • #3058499

      Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      by angry_white_male ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Security and support headaches… if they don’t have a business justification for it – request denied. Otherwise, you’ll be getting calls late at night because they can’t VPN in, get their e-mail, surf porn sites from their hotel rooms, etc.

      Portable devices – laptops, Blackberries, PDA’s, etc… all easily lost, stolen, dropped, broke, abused. They’re pains in the asses and smart IT organizations should try to defeat the rollout of any of these at all costs.

      • #3057024

        necessary evil

        by avid ·

        In reply to Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

        headache ? yes. but with the right training and a good acceptable use policy in place, that is actually enforced, the items are very productive. in some cases they can even make our jobs easier, which is what they are supposed to do in the first place.

        • #3063373

          both of you have the idea

          by fbeechwood ·

          In reply to necessary evil

          Train before you let them out of the shop!!!!

          Don’t let them out if they aren’t needed!!!

          Mobile devises are not rewards or status symbols;they are tools.
          Period.

          ?With proper training you don’t have a lot of problems

    • #3057513

      Easy

      by dr dij ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      If they have a need for a portable DVD player for their kids on that long drive to Las Vegas, get them one. If they will leave their office unlocked at nite and leave it there, so it will get stolen, they definitely need one. If they are the type who’ll take it with them when they leave the company they need one even more. If they’ll complain endlessly about not having the latest and the fastest, they’re the right type.

      If they can balance it on their knee and use it in their mobile living room SUV via wireless, you need to get them one immediately. If they can barely retrieve their email I think they need the most expensive one you can find. Plus a VPN to their home and wireless setup at home. Skip the virus checking or locking it down, as their neighbors will want to tap into the wireless connection, and their kids will want to test drive the latest viruses and spyware.

      And if the person allocates it to their kids, you’ll want to be ready with replacements when they drop and break it. (actually happened here).

    • #3056679

      same problem

      by systemsgod ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I had the same issue at the company I work for. Certain employees just demanded laptops because they think they rate one by the status of their position and not because they actually need it or would use one. But, because their manager went along with it (and wanted to keep them happy), they got the laptop anyway (against my concerns, I might add).

      As a result of this indiscriminant issuing of laptops, most were simply left in their docks at night in the office. Some were stolen. Some were taken home and never put on the corporate network again.

      After many of these people left the company, I suddenly had a huge pile of laptops. One day I showed it to the manager who was so eager to provide them for his people. Since many of the laptops were less than 2 years old, he was still paying for them. He then decided that this was a huge waste, and that I should deploy them immediately to a list of people he wanted to impress. What he was doing was trying to send the message to these employees that they were suddenly important enough to the company to deserve a laptop, thus fostering the status symbol notion of the laptop that had almost been squelched. Some people got the laptop instead of a raise, bonus, promotion, etc., and were (understandably) very uncooperative about moving off their desktop pc.

      Once again, after migrating the new users to these laptops I found that most were never turned off and just sat in their docs at night. Hardware failures started becoming common on these units, and downtime started to rise. To keep downtime to a minimum we would move those users back to a desktop pc…temporarily at first, but, this later became permanent (they never missed the laptop, and in fact appreciated that the desktop was faster and more reliable). More were stolen of course and were also replaced by desktop pc’s…which was fine with the manager who had finally come to the conclusion that he should only deploy laptops to those who truly need them. Of course, this took a couple of years and needlessly exhausted company and IT resources in the process. We also ended up with a pile of laptops that weren?t even 3 years old yet, and that we were still paying for. We now use these for training purposes, although, since my users have no time to train they mostly just collect dust beside my desk.

      • #3062280

        Management awareness

        by mansurk ·

        In reply to same problem

        Almost all the companies I have worked for have had the sort of management that doesnt merit the actual business needs before approving laptops and other accessories.
        It takes quite a lot of convincing and explanation to the management to see through your ideas. From where I hail from, its more of satisfying an individuals wants rather then his needs. Every now and then I would send emails to managers about cost conscious approaches. I have now successfully created an air of budgeting and strict adherence to departmental budget expenses. I got this idea while skimming through the ISO procedures manuals. Moreover, when i have to deal with someone who has cloes ties with the management, I indirectly make everybody realize the silliness of thier actions and the implications of such decisions.
        So you can see that its more of a communication intensive art of awareness aimed at the management.
        At the same time, I do take time out to highlight the personnel that really could perform thier duties well if they were given a portable device/computer.

    • #3059548

      Take the Bull bythe Horn

      by aaron a baker ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      First of all, establish if you are in fact the person responsible for such an endeavor, “No offense” but if you’re not and you act, someone else might take umbrage. Second, You be the one to establish the criteria under which an employee will require a laptop. Personally, you couldn’t give me one, however, if the task, addresses, records keeping, meetings, schedules are only a small part of my job description, chances are that I would definitely benefit form the use of one. Also make it “thier” responsibility. In the real word , there is no such thing as an accident. It happened as a result of some form of negligence on someone’s part somewhere. Ask any insurance salesman and No I don’t sell insurance :).
      If they get ripped off, they better have a darn good explanation or they pay, if the thing comes in full of his kids’ peanut butter, they pay, if it was dropped, thrown, drenched in water, they pay, get the idea? If they are not prepared to a least assume part of the responsibly for this extremely and overly expensive piece of equipment, then they shouldn’t ask for one. Another though might be to let the firm go half on the unit with them, after a time, it becomes theirs, you’d be amazed at how well we take care of that which we own.The only real way out of this for you is for you to take the Bull by the horns, “You” make rules, implement them and if they don’t agree, no toys for Christmas.
      Good Luck
      Regards
      Aaron

    • #3058864

      Depends

      by jessica lynn ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Determining who gets what type of ?perk? equipment is tough. I personally don?t believe it should be the IT department who determines this. IT can make recommendations, but at the end, the call needs to be with the person controlling the budget.

      I myself have taken laptops away from VPs with a frank conversation regarding their usage. If the computer hasn?t left the office, in say 3 months, is it necessary for that person to have the more expensive (both tech wise and $$ wise) equipment? No.

      I think the HOW and WHEN the computer will be used needs to be addressed before you can choose which type of equipment to assign.

      We do have some criteria here. All users at a particular level have desktops. If the need later arises for them to have a notebook, the discussion will be had.

      For Directors and VPs, I have a discussion with them before they start. Ask them or their supervisors:

      1. Will you be working from home a lot? (A few hours of productivity at a VP salary will pay for the additional cost of a notebook)
      2. Do other staff at that level have a notebook or a desktop
      3. Do you have a computer at home, you?d rather configure for network access (verse brining a laptop home nightly)?

      More often than not, they take the desktop.

      Users will always see laptops, blackberries, etc as perks just as they do paid cell phone, paid home internet access etc.

    • #3062273

      A Different Viewpoint

      by tom carlisle ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I’d standardize on laptops for everybody if the budget permits. I’m working from home today (sick kid) with complete connectivity to my data center because I have a laptop. Laptops are key for anybody in sales and management but they’re also extremely valuable for developers to work from home or at an offsite location.
      Sure, I watch DVDs on it on some long flights or when I’m in my hotel room but 99% of what I do increases my productivity.
      Standardizing on laptops will make your life easier because (theoretically) you’ll have to support fewer platforms.

      • #3062264

        I agree with you, Lothar

        by cberding ·

        In reply to A Different Viewpoint

        I use my laptop the same way you do, Lothar. I am doing support so I have one, if one of my jobs fails at 3AM, I can resubmit it. If processes go beyond the business day (which happens a little too regularly) I can do OT work from home.

        It’s not a status symbol where I work, but more and more people are using them away from the office. I even used mine for a night class, because my own laptop wouldn’t handle the battery time I needed. I used my JumpDrive to store my notes, so there was no class info on my company HDD.

      • #3057105

        Employees who are “out and about”

        by simon_mackay ·

        In reply to A Different Viewpoint

        Hi all!

        If I knew that an employee was always working in the field rather than desk-bound, they certainly need a laptop. This also applies to “on-call” workers. For that matter, I would ensure that the unit has WiFi as part of the deal and can “tunnel in” to the VPN securely and simply from anywhere with any method — cellular phones, WiFi hotspots, home and other networks as well as other company locations.

        I would also supply them a DC adaptor which allows the laptop to work from a vehicle’s cigar lighter or keep this as an “on-hand item”. This is important for those who frequently work from a vehicle such as repairmen or installers. This will reduce issues regarding working within the limit of batteries.

        With regards,

        Simon Mackay

      • #3057005

        Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

        by angry_white_male ·

        In reply to A Different Viewpoint

        First of all, it’s “Lothar, King of the Hill People”!

        I would look into a terminal services / Citrix solution for those employees who feel they must work at home til Midnight every night.

        Laptops are costly and a drain on IT resources. Save them for the travelling execs who live in hotel rooms. Outside of that, they’re nothing more than a luxury waiting to get lost, stolen or broken.

        • #3056999

          Citrix is the best answer for us

          by tundraroamer ·

          In reply to Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

          They don’t even need to carry a laptop anymore, just need a PC/Kiosk/somebody’s else’s terminal to be able to connect in to the home server and see their own desktop. And all their files are saved and backed up in one place. Yes, a laptop can also use a Citrix client to connect, but what do you use the rest of the technology for? What they really need is a portable thin client.
          And what do most of my travelers use their laptop for while on the road? To check their e-mail or watch a movie on a plane. They can do that with a portable DVD player and cell phone, Blackberry or similar! Some will occasionally will write a letter or work on a spreadsheet, but that is limited to just a few users. So for most users, standardize on a basic model that you can easily support, purchase and set it up but retain ownership rights and take it out of their budget, not yours.

        • #3056847

          Lyrics

          by cactus pete ·

          In reply to Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

          The lyrics in the theme song stress “Lothar, of the Hill People”

          Just in his defense…

    • #3062269

      Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      by mad mole ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      We have a fairly straight forward proceedure.
      All PC purchases are justified and paid for by individual departments. There are two scenarios where laptops are issued:

      1. Every manager receives a laptop as they expected to be able to work at home if required.

      2. Office staff will only receive a laptop if they expected to work from home in addition to their normal hours or if they need a PC for the shopfloor/supplier visits.

      Tight budgeting and PC vs laptop pricing ensure desktop machines are the preferred purchase choice. If a member of staff (other than a manager) requires a laptop it is subject to the same budget cap as a desktop and so that user will be sacrificing performance for portability. They also have no choice over what machine they receive and if they can justify a DVDRW for instance they will have to suffer a lower-spec CPU or similar to keep the cost within budget.

      If your sales staff insist, a)make sure their department is paying and b)lock the machine down like fort knox (whitelist websites only; no installation rights; no hardware access;). While blocking installation rights should prevent general media player abuse you may also want to disable all the USB ports as a mesure to ‘protect them’ from other trying to steal any data.
      Oh and make sure all wireless networking is disabled as well. VPN or their desk at work, nothing else.

      • #3073543

        A policy is required

        by catgirl201 ·

        In reply to Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

        I beleive that their should be some policy set determining who should get a laptop within an organization. In my organization the IT Manager is responsible for its own budget. This includes the purchasing of equipment for all departments.
        Laptops are generally more expensive than desktops and as such will have a sufficient effect on the budget.Further, there are issues such as security. I think that laptops such given to executive management as they are expected to perform duties at home ( as well it is perk to their egos). Laptops should be given to sales and other staff if their are expected to perform at least 16 hours of work or more after hours.the later should be monitored to determine whether company work is being performed. A floating laptop(s) should be setup to enable special projects and sales presentations which need to be performed by the junior staff.

    • #3062265

      There is no problem!!

      by chriswills ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      There is no problem here except that it would seem that the wrong people are trying to make decisions for people outside their domain. In this case, IT should not have the responsibility to make decisions for justifying luxuries for Sales.

      It is for their direct manager, or higher, to justify the cost and need for the company. Also, when a requirement has been set, then they can also set the budgets and resource for out of hours support, whether by “in house” or 3rd party.

      • #3057054

        Yes, there is a problem…

        by pliniodealmeida ·

        In reply to There is no problem!!

        You know what the problem is? If you defer to the user department the decision and the cost of the purchasing the laptop, there will always be the question: If I am paying for the laptop, why can’t I decide which laptop I can buy? Thus, how to enforce standards?

        • #3057041

          Easy answer

          by garnerl ·

          In reply to Yes, there is a problem…

          “… question: If I am paying for the laptop, why can’t I decide which laptop I can buy?”

          Answer: You will not buy it, you will approve and requisition it from a list of selected models. IT purchasing will buy, receive, and configure it just like they (should) do with desktops.

          We have a few Dell laptop models which are supported. That’s it. Always Windows XP Pro, and always preconfigured for the user with a standard image plus any unique software required.

          I don’t expect someone from sales to tell me how to do my job, and I don’t tell them how to do theirs.

        • #3057039

          AND…

          by robroynj ·

          In reply to Yes, there is a problem…

          We have to replace laptops a full year earlier than we do desktops at my company. So it isn’t just the upfront cost, it is the faster replacement cost.

          Also, I don’t have hard numbers on this but it just seems that the helpdesk team has to spend more time with laptop users as well.

          Even if the manager approves the budgetary expense, I have to absorb the increased support costs.

        • #3057019

          Lease anyone??

          by jafa ·

          In reply to AND…

          Any company that is still “purchasing” desktops and/or laptops must be living in the stoneage.

          Dell offers a lucrative lease program that my company uses and it makes my life much easier. Trade them in every 3 years for new ones.. keep up with technology and don’t have to deal with disposing of out dated junk.

          As far as “who” gets a laptop… the user submits me the request.. I forward it on to upper management and they decide who gets a laptop. It may take a little more effort to support a user with a laptop but… if you don’t deal with that very well… you’re in the wrong position.

        • #3057006

          We do lease

          by robroynj ·

          In reply to Lease anyone??

          I’m talking about support costs. While we are replacing these laptops at no additional cost after two years it does take considerable time migrating the user to a new laptop, not to mention that many laptops fail slowly and there are many support visits associated with the user before you switch out the laptop.

          If you are carefully looking at who and how you support employees and look at TCO and not just the cost of the equipment you will discover over time that this becomes a huge issue. We have well over 1000 employees with laptops and 10,000+ with desktops. The difference in support is substantial, trust me.

    • #3062263

      laptop needs

      by jck ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I’d say probably the things you want to make the deciding criteria are:

      1) How mobile does the person have to be?

      If he’s a sales rep that does most of his work out of the office and only goes to customer sites for meetings, contract signings, etc., then I’d say he’s not REALLY in need.

      If he’s a sales rep who is more than 50% mobile, regularly does presentations for customers (powerpoint, product demos, etc.), and rarely interfaces from the office to your intranet, that’s your candidate.

      2) How much does the user use their PC?

      If a candidate is only a twice a day email checker and the rest of the time is on the phone or reading trade journals, that’s not your guy.

      However if he’s constantly in touch with the office via email from remote sites with both company and external contacts, that would be a candidate as well.

      The most important thing would be to simply base it on need. Find out who really needs the mobility the most. Who does most of their work remote and who does most of theirs hand-to-hand.

      Plus if laptop allocation does come from other department’s budgets, then come up with a list as such with solid critera. But, give it to each department’s manager who approves these things and let them have the final say. Only make the decision if it’s your call. Plus, get input from their manager. It never hurts to ask.

    • #3062262

      Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      by gs_2005 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Hi, In these days of technological advancement, discussions as to who should get a laptop and what are the criteria are redundant, in my view. The cost difference is not high between a laptop and a desktop.

      The advantages one sees in using a laptop vs. a desktop are:

      1. Office space usage is minimised. This results in saving in real estate costs.
      2. Increased productivity. The staff tend to use the laptop at home during off hours and holidays, thus improving productivity.
      3. Critical support is possible. Since most offices are now dependant on e-mail (Lotus notes etc.), staff can respond to mails from wherever they are.
      4. People become location independant.
      5. Staff can work in mobile fashion. This helps in reducing dependancy on seating capabilities and location / travel dependancies.

      If one really sees through this, the differential cost of a laptop vs. a desktop is not even a few day’s wages. This being so, one should be prgmatic enough to see the advantages.

      Of course, there are many administrative / clerical / back office functions and low level staffing, who cannot work off the office and take decisions etc. (eg. call center staff, travel assistance staff etc.) For them, a desk top is recommended. Also, those who depend on static data for their work need to be in the office and hence a desk top would suffice.

      Readers’ comments solicited.
      GS

      • #3057173

        Mobility, security and avaliability to name few

        by israelmalik9 ·

        In reply to Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

        After 9/11, Eastern seaboard blackout and few hurricanes my company took a new approach, every one get laptop?no more desktops. With this new approach if an employee is unable to driver to his/her office to whatever reason, that day they work from home; In fact all employees require to pack and take their laptop home at the end of each working day.
        One important factor of owning laptop is the risk of loosing it to airport theft, car break in, someone forgot hi/her laptop somewhere, etc. My company policy make those event an employment a Ground for Dismissal, unless user can show that he/she done all they can to prevent it.

    • #3062258

      Is it a laptop that is required?

      by billphillips ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Some interesting replies on this, usually defined by the culture of the company (decision making responsibilities, progressive tehcnology approach, etc.)therefore no easy solution.
      My approach to this is that if the person only wants email/internet access, then new technology gives us another option – The PDA.

      You give them the desk PC with a PDA (eg. Blackberry & T-Mobile contract)for out of office use. They get a telephone and also remote (real time) and secure access to email,calendar, Corporate data, providing them with the utility to request up to date information. This also looks good in front of a customer, showing that the company are up with top end technology, gives the sales person another lead in line on how good things are, and probably a feel good factor on not having to lug around a laptop all the time.
      On the downside for the salesperson, is the fact that they are available 24*7 every week.

      If they do a lot of work between office and home, then rather than provide them with a new laptop, you could consider giving them an adequate desk PC and an older low end PC, VPN access, and broadband.

      My opinion is that you will get benefits if you can give employees what (or more than) they ask for whilst keeping it cost effective. The benefits from this approach are usually tangible in the additional work they will carry out to justify the consideration shown by the IT department in nurturing the relationship.

      We sometimes look at the hard facts and how we can restrict through cost, when we should maybe consider the intangible rewards through building relationships from serving the user best.

      This approach can also be used as a “loss leader” to gain ground on other opportunities – this should appease the “beancounters” 🙂

    • #3062256

      Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      by navz24 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      i think the best way of looking at this issue is prioratising who does the most critical work while been mobile?? or list the number of people who work around the clock and who’;s work load is quite heavy? and they could really get rid of their work load if they can work from home. but security of the documents etc is something which you would have to look at??

    • #3057167

      Not your decision.

      by jwschull9 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      The employees direct supervision is the better person to decide the equipment requirements of his employee. If he signs off on the requirement don’t argue with it. It shouldn’t be your problem. An incorrect decision on your part would result in a negative performance impact on another department. You have neither the tools nor the insight to determine what’s the correct decision.

    • #3057165

      In the Closet

      by sportz ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      The Status Symbol issue seems to be a big one at my company. How do I know? Because every quarter I begin an update process, and more than 50% of the laptops still have my ID at the OS login screen from the Q before…. many of our mobile users only travel one week out of the year, and even if they worked from home, most seem to have broadband, and we have a web portal to log into.

      Unfortunaly, all hardware over over a certain dollar figure comes out of a central budget – ours.

      • #3057157

        Measure Usage

        by orangebull ·

        In reply to In the Closet

        If there is not an existing company policy, one can measure usage. When laptops first came out, our department had two pool laptops that people checked out. When someone wanted one fulltime, their manager would ask how many times that person had checked out a laptop. Usually, it was never. Those that needed the portability already had one, because if they were checking out the pool laptops enought, I had already arranged for them to have one.

        • #3063470

          Terrific Idea!

          by yumadome9 ·

          In reply to Measure Usage

          I think that’s the best plan I’ve seen yet. This way, if they go to their boss to complain, you can show him the usage logs and let him decide with the facts in front of him (and the budget to back it up?). As you say, if they really need it, they would be using the pool laptop.

          Good thinking!

          Mark

      • #3057131

        I can’t believe this!

        by cannucci ·

        In reply to In the Closet

        Hi,

        I having a hard time understanding from all the replies here, that it’s not IT responsability on who gets what!
        Who is going to support it?
        Who’s budget should it be part of?
        Where I work, things started like most of you are describing, with different departments responsible for their own computer budgeting. If they can budget for it, then guess what they automatically upgrade their systems and get one or come up with ridiculous reasons.
        This year I changed all that, all computer expenses or anything that interfaces with the company network, is my responsability, that of the IT Manager.
        I also made it clear that the only thing other managers are responsible for, is to advice me on how many people they are budgeting to hire who will need computers in their next budgets, period.
        I will factor in upgrades, for existing employees in my budget.

        It’s working for me.
        Regards,
        Cannucci

        • #3056894

          A distinction is in order

          by sr10 ·

          In reply to I can’t believe this!

          I can get on board with you for issues such as, “what software will be on the laptop?” or “which manufacturer will we buy the laptop from?” If you have to support it, you need the authority to define the scope of your support.

          There should be a menu of different alternatives available. I maintain that IT is better off staying out of the question of who needs/deserves a better machine among the users. It’s a non-starter. Save your political capital for more urgent uses.

    • #3057163

      Selection

      by khanolkardilip ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Everyone in the society needs laptops for many reasons will you be providing laptops for every person in the company. Laptops should be issued to every person who needs to work from outside the office & the persons from the IT department (who need to roam from here to there in a jiffy)

    • #3057119

      laptops

      by gkrew ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      for us only sales reps and remote users get laptops. Having a laptop requires a decent set of computer skills since the laptop will be used some of the time away from the corporate network. I don’t even have a company laptop. I don’t need one since I am not a laptop fan. I have a personal laptop with Linux that I use at home. I did not make the policy at my company but I agree with it and I have to enforce it. The CEO has a company laptop and that was set-up before I started here. I feel your pain but I would reduce the number of laptop users here if I could and just get a copuple of roaming laptops that can be easily managed.

    • #3057093

      What is the Answer?

      by geek76 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I feel your pain. My problems on this issue stem from the chain of command mostly. I am the IT Manager. The problem is I have to answer to about 4 or 5 people before I get to the owner of the company. So as you would imagine the people that get the privilege of laptops are the people who are in tight with the 4 or 5 people that I answer to. All is not lost though. I have been able to at least stress the following.

      Remote access to network is based on weather or not this person having access in the evening or on weekends is critical for operations to continue.

      Unfortunately that?s about it. I agree with your previous post in regards to laptops being a status symbol. This would be further supported by the fact the most of my laptops are distributed to GM?s and corporate staff.

      The only other good news is that the windows policy on the laptops is locked down to basically the operational equivalent of a terminal. They do not have local admin access. They come in through CISCO vpn setup. And Norton Corporate is on the machine.

      I also would appreciate some input on policy building for the laptop front.

    • #3057068

      McBee!!! They do:

      by grossergnu ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Hello mcbee!
      I have been thinking about this some years ago, and the only one you can give away computers to without getting some strange market reaction, are STUDENTS at high schools and university, and poor people (low or no income or job).
      These are the only ones society will accept. If you start to give away LapTops to some CIO in this or that branch or business category, or only in some state or any other likwise, there will be sour reactions.
      No one will have any remarks for giving away anything to students, poor people (no job or low income), and people in need of help (as after some storm, etc).

      I tried to organize this together with SUN computers, HP, and some other, but I guess giving away over 250.000 computers a year was over their head.

      Have a nice day and go on with it.

    • #3057058

      all critical people need special

      by mooney_rb ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Doctors, nurses, maintainence people, police, ambulance drivers, pilots, mechanics of all sorts, tradesmen of all sorts, and others too numerous to mention need special laptop computers as was discovered in very important facilities in New Orleans recently when the hurricane destroyed both the non-computer and computer infra-structure to the degree that the city is now dead…virtually finished. I personally, will never be caught out with the glitzy sassy looking typical American styled computer that isn’t worth more than 3 hours in an emergency. I would, however, buy a Panasonic **ruggedized laptop** such as the military now use in battlefield situations. These units meet *MIL-SPC 810F* and are resistant to shock, vibration, dust, moisture, temperature extremes and high altitude conditions.

      Panasonic is one of several vendors which supply rugged and ruggedized computers to civilian emergency services and the army. There are several vendors which specialize in rugged military and industrial computers as
      well. Search Goggle on *rugged laptops*, *ruggedized laptops* or *military
      laptops* to get references. Most ruggedized Panasonic models come with touch
      screen options and equipped with 802.xx a+b+g communications built in.

      http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/home.asp

      There are also vendors specializing in on-board vehicle computers which run on 12- or 24-volt automotive electric systems. There are also rugged industrial computers made to survive in freezing, hot, steamy, wet, vibrating, and bouncing factory environment.

      All are 3 to 4 times the cost of normal computers.

      More critical may be your mobile power supply and communications links. Do you have vehicles?.., generators?.., other?

      Well, if you don’t, good luck! The hospitals and police–not to mention official City Hall records of all sorts–are gone, kaput, erased, vaporized, and all because America loves some stupid “latest model” that isn’t worth the time it takes to pronounce their fleeting names. They’re just like lousy gas-guzzling American cars: wrong-headed. But are we ever going to learn and it will be by the hardest and much more expensive route than one of these *rugged laptops*, which have amazing utility for everyone!

      • #3057007

        Reply To: How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

        by r e p h l e x ·

        In reply to all critical people need special

        As a IT manager I get stopped in corridor on a regular basis usually by men I have to say with the statement ” Could you order me a laptop because I’m starting to think I could do with one, I’m finding my self away from my desk more and more and I would find it really useful.” My reply every time is ” Yeah no problem if you need one I’ll get it for you, I’ll get you a top spec one, (They start to smile thinking they bagged it). If you could just get your line manager to send me a mail or requisition with good justification that you need one. I’ll make sure you get it. The smile disappears and they reply with yeah er, er, err OK I’ll get that done. 90% of the time I never see that req or mail with good justification.

        Feedback from people who use them but don’t need them including my self is they would go back to a desktop computer because it becomes a pain setting up in the morning and packing up in the afternoon what with plugging extra keyboards, mice and a second monitors in.

        Some people would really benefit from a laptop but get one because their line manager use’s the budget excuse mention earlier.

    • #3057036

      Time To Live!

      by miles999 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Sound familiar. I have never been a proponent of dolling out laptops without spending some time to learn the mission of the individual who will be getting one. Regardless of what has been previously said about support issues in IT you WILL, I say again, WILL, be required to support the laptop in some fashion, directly or indirectly. And don’t forget, you have NO control over what happens to that laptop when it leaves the office, the human element is too unpredictable. Remember the phrase “it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Some of this should be ringing a bell to those of you who have lived through laptop hell.
      That being said here is what I have always used as a good measuring before starting down the slippery slope of the laptop argument. How TIME sensitive is the information the recipient works with outside the office? Does this info need to be synced with the database at work 24/7? Is the data mission critical? Using this first set of questions usually weeds out a very large number of the candidates as they simply want to check email, faxes, etc.; which can be done from a PDA. The second thing I look at concerns their usage type. Are they using the device for presentations, as a kiosk at a show, or a glorified email machine? Again, much of this can be accomplished with a PDA. I am not trying to be sour on laptops here as they do have a purpose, but my experiences have shown me that a very large number of users with company furnished laptops never use them for what they were intended and then at some point IT is involved as they are working on the machine or eradicating an infestation they brought in on the machine. I realize this is not an all inclusive answer, but it is my attempt to share the criteria I use when working with a company on their laptop needs.

    • #3057023

      The Future

      by jyoun3 ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      The IT community needs to stop looking at laptops as a
      “privilege” or needing some additional justification. Today’s
      society is mobile and many people prefer to work that way.
      Chances are, if someone is requesting a laptop, it is because
      they are considering alternative ways of working as opposed to
      being chained to a desk.
      IT organizations should be looking at ways to make their
      workforce more productive and how to provide a working
      environment that will help with staff retention. Creating a
      wireless infrastructure enable your workforce to: work where
      and when they are comfortable, work where they are needed,
      and create virtual teams for special projects.
      As long as an eye is kept tightly on security, you will create a
      much more flexible and productive business by creating a
      mobile workforce.

      Joshua

    • #3057018

      Adopt mutual responsability policy

      by gprinsloo ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      1. Have the sales person justify.
      2. Calculate the cost of the notebook + s/w + maintenance over 24 months.
      3. Split the cost and have the individual pay 50% and the company the other 50%.
      4. Then reimburse them 50% of the amount paid by them at the end of the 24 months if the notebook is in working order, and let them have it.

      The staff will look after the machines and trust me if they have to pay 50% VERY FEW will then need a notebook.

    • #3057016

      Offer to buy it for them

      by im_ratiocinate ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      …. after they buy it. Reimburse 2/3 of their cost. Then 1/3 more after a year if they are still with the company. If they have an interest in the machine, they will most certainly be inclined to re-evaluate needs vs. wants. Further it will stimulate overall satisfaction. Those whu need one will also asses ‘what; they need it for and (hopefully) do a little research and get a machine they will be happy with. If they don’t have the money and they NEED the LT, then resourcefulness will engage and they will find the funds temporarily. You should get the receipts as you are, in effect, buying them. It is in everyones interest to find a good deal, so you may wish to share that type of info w/them. The 2/3 refund should come some amount of time after the purchase (30 days?) and other contingencies can be applied as necessary. It sounds as if you have some stipulations already -the ones YOU mention are good! My main point is ellicit a demonstration of good faith, responsibility, and more thorough evaluation of real need on the part of the rep. If you have a contract with a distributor, you can work out a way to apply the agreement by issuing a unique code to the individual so they can get the guaranteed rate. But they should be free to shop anywhere and you can put a limit on the amount you will reimburse. Just a few thoughts -take what you need or leave it all, file the rest and stamp the plan as your own!

    • #3056978

      Let Line Managers Decide and Inform Senior Mgmt

      by jaboren ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Line managers are incented by budgetary costs, so I agree with the other postings on this. I recommend going a step further by notifying senior management on an annual or semi-annual basis of all the “non-standard” services that their organizations are subscribing to. This is a good macro view that many leaders appreciate. This equips them to challenge their own departments which helps you out.

    • #3056972

      Who needs, and who makes the call

      by tired-tech ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      As a support manager in a mega enterprise here is the solution I find works.
      It’s not your call to make that decision, flat out.
      Let the folks who manage the money, or make those kind of choices the party responsible for determining who get that laptop and who doesn’t.
      Is your job to support the systems that are on the enterprise or is it your decision on what types of systems those user work on.
      If you have input in the process then use the simple method of having the user who wants to have a laptop justify a business reason for doing so and have it approved my his manager / vp or whoever controls those costs.
      If the reason is valid enough (and you’ll know) you can either then recommend approval or not, because you KNOW, they are going to ask you for your opinion…. after all they don’t really have a clue do they ….lol

    • #3056947

      Partner with the Business..

      by it mngr ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Partner with the business and make a policy: Involve the leadership of your company and create a policy that determines who is eligble. Have a ranking officer of each department sign off on the policy.

      Exceptions: If an employee does not qualify according to the policy, allow a ranking officer to sign off as an exception to anyone that needs a laptop. Included the exception process as part of the policy.

      Don’t be scared to set criteria: some IT department “own” the hardware that is allocated to the employees, so partnering with the business sets the expectations (criteria) for who is allocated a laptop, and the employee in turn complies with thier management’s recorded decision.

      Criteria to consider: %time traveling, position/level, need for after hours availability, buget, etc…

      Does your company use Blackberry? Having a mobile email device and web browser reduces the need for a laptop when an employee is away from their desks.

      Hope this helps..

    • #3056936

      non Political answers

      by itcowboy ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      Whatever you do, don’t let it become a political issue. If you offer a manager a laptop because he want’s one, remember that all managers will se it and think they need one too.

      We have a few laptops in our company, most of which are assigned to field agents who have a legitimate need for VPN or computer access on the road (internet use is usally not considered legitimate) other than that there are a few available in the office for checkout or use.

      The whole status symbol issue can be a genuine concern, what is needed here is to remain strict. We do let the loaners be checked out for status symbols, not for the person, but for the company. When making a large sales presentation, or even going over a few documents with a possible client, a new, shiny (preferably silver) laptop, with the latest and greatest hardware and software can go a long way for the company image, even if the presenter is at best a fair user showing a word document. This can usually impress other companies you want to sell to or get a contract with. The other field workers who use run of the mill computers for data entry and need them away from the office can usually be left with the old leftovers if they absolutely need it.

      There is no fair need to decide which you you should go, so if it is not a budgetary concern, then decide for yourself if they need it, let them present a written argument, and justify the need. I want it doesn’t work here, I want lots of things myself!

    • #3056869

      Cheaper ways to be mobile

      by bruce.anderson@noel-arnol ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I work in a school and often have staff come to me for advice on purchase of a laptop for personal use. I always ask why do you need one. Most reply that they need to be able to work on files at home and at work. I then ask do you need to have access anywhere else? On the road etc? Usually they say no. I then suggest several other options. A USB memory key that they keep files on that they need to use in both locations. Or they just email files back and forth from work to home.

      • #3056861

        Wrong approach

        by lmotp ·

        In reply to Cheaper ways to be mobile

        I guess this post really ticked me off.

        I have been a teacher and they are the hardest working people on the earth.
        Most teachers work 24X7 and don’t need some clown in IT telling them that their request is not worthy of consideration for department resources. A memory key still requires a computer, usually theirs you are now asking them to contribute both their time AND their resources.
        Have a little understanding next time; they have a class of eager faces and need something to present. Laptops are a part of a teachers equipment needs and cannot be addressed in the same manner as a Business exec who just wants to read email or view movies.

        It’s not just a “food chain” decision

        • #3062005

          watch your mouth

          by ptulskie ·

          In reply to Wrong approach

          This post kind of ticks me off to. Most teachers have a reasonable PC at home with which they can enter data and stuff like that. I have never EVER in my life seen a teacher get a laptop paid for by a school, ever. If you don’t have a reasonable PC at home, then maybe you should get one. PCs are even becomming more and more common in the actual class room, and what ever happened to printing out sheets and displaying them on an overhead projector?

          Laptops are becomming more of a status symbol these days, I know, I work in IT at a major magazine company, and I’m no “clown”. If a teacher really NEEDS a laptop then I’m sure the school would provide it, especially if they teach in more than one school, having a laptop would be very handy when trying to prepare stuff in between classes or something like that.

          Maybe I’m “old fashioned” though, but the only teacher I ever saw with a laptop was my robotics teacher in a class I am in right now and that blew my mind. I asked him though and he said he bought it because he wanted to be able to toy around with stuff on the train ride to the city.

          Can I ask what special needs you think you have that make you any different than some “business exec” who is travelling all over the country doing different things, managing different accounts, presenting to 100s of people and can’t rely on an in house PC? Maybe we can see some middle ground here.

        • #3069170

          Need a dose of reality

          by jyoun3 ·

          In reply to watch your mouth

          Almost all teachers spend a considerable amount of time
          OUTSIDE of school doing work for their classrooms. Most of this
          time requires a computer and is not compensated by the district.
          Asking a teacher to use their own money to purchase and
          maintain a computer that will be primarily used for business
          (teaching) purposes is ridiculous.
          The reason that most school districts don’t buy teachers laptops
          is because of a lack of funding and NOT because of any lack of
          need by the teachers. If a teacher works in a district that CAN
          afford laptops, that district absolutely should provide them for
          their staff. The benefits will likely be increased productivity,
          better classroom content, and better quality of teaching for the
          students.
          Finally, if you think for one moment that the needs of classroom
          teachers are any less than some “business exec who is travelling
          all over the country doing different things, managing different
          accounts, presenting to 100s of people”, you need to have a
          serious re-evaluation of priorities. By the way, did you ever
          consider that a teacher might be “traveling all over a school
          campus doing different things, managing different teaching
          plans, and presenting to 100’s of students?”
          Sorry if I sound a bit abrasive in this email, but sometimes I am
          totally outraged by the arrogant and misinformed attitudes of so
          many in the IT field.

          Joshua

        • #3063471

          Read the post again!

          by yumadome9 ·

          In reply to Wrong approach

          I have three family who are teachers and about-to-be teachers. You are right that they work very hard. However, you missed the point of his post. His statement was that the teachers come asking for advice on what to purchase… he isn’t a ‘clown’ “asking them to contribute both their time AND their resources.”
          The USB flash drive is used by all three of our teachers and they love them. Now that they are available with GB’s of storage, there isn’t much that you can’t store on them.

          Mark

      • #3063369

        Yes, Teacher!

        by fbeechwood ·

        In reply to Cheaper ways to be mobile

        I have pehaps a little perspective on this.
        I have been a teacher for many years ancontinue to teacher IT.
        In additin to being a building level It person.

        All too often , a principal who can’t even handle an AOL account or find a way to access the budget system uses It as a carrot on the stick. They order an laptop or mobile device without regard to netwok or system compatibilites and then, pass them out to themselves and others. This leaves the teacher in charge of IT tying to get it all to work while administrqation “can’t figure out why It isn’t doing thier job.

        Teachers (especially older ones and those not require to take computer courses.) need training in the usee of computers and in hardware selection. This goes double for administrator who think the shine new computer on thier desk isn’t complete without weater bug and a disney screen saver!!! (Can you say spam? Disaster Recovery?? IT nightmare???)

        Most teachers are very considerate and genuinely good people . They just need the proper training . This is also true of administrators, who just need to listen to the IT teacher!
        Thank for the opportunity to vent

    • #3056868

      a simple trick

      by stlshawn ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      If anyone has the power to fire you, or give you a raise, they get a laptop (that’s my rule).

      Actually, Since instating a simple policy, laptops are now not such a problem. Regional managers who work offsite or work at different locations get a laptop after going through a short course on laptop use and care. Department managers who need to stay in touch after hours also get one, (unless we pay half for an ipaq).

      Actually, i’ve been amazed at the number of people who don’t want one after they see our rules.

      We do not buy laptops with CD/DVD burners of any sort. We do not allow them to be used in cars (and many other similar care and safety rules). We have a listing of software that cannot be loaded (we like using descriptions as opposed to names like “file sharing, codecs, messaging”). Any loaded software must be approved for use by the I.T. Department. Any deviation from these rules can cause the laptop to be forfiet. And there are others of course.

      Therefore, if they feel they can live by the rules, and demonstrate a real need for one, they get one.

      We then get these back approximately once a month for “scheduled maintenance” by the I.T. Staff, which will include spyware and virus scans, updates, and removal of all the games they have loaded. This also gives them the idea that these laptops are not “theirs”, but are company property that they are using.

      We do have a number of people who need a laptop on a “per project” basis for a few days or a few weeks. One of the best things we’ve found is to rotate a pool of laptops using “deepfreeze” on all of them. The laptops are not assigned to individuals, but are “checked out” on an individual basis, they have all the essential office tools, but documents and such must be saved on pen drives since deepfeeze makes all changes caused by the user (or the user’s viruses, adware and other baddies) disappear upon rebooting. May seem a bit extreme, but it works.

    • #3061564

      Everyone Needs One

      by hutchtech ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      They all deserve laptops. With most budget models being cheap enough to justify, just forget the desktop and make all them use cheap laptops–they don’t need to play 3D games on them anyway. Besides, this means you can expect them to work 24-7, since they’ll all be mobile.

      Okay, that’s enough, my tongue’s getting tired of being in my cheek.

      – Hutch

    • #3061557

      are you serious?

      by gfoster ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      laptops cost not much more than a desktop.
      if a status symbol helps your salesman be more effective or even think he is more effective then she should have one.

      Maybe the rep will work from home, maybe get some work done while waiting for a customer, or just feel like the company values their contribution.

      do you believe that a laptop is a productivity improvement tool? I do. why would you not want to make it easier for your sales people to be effective?

      i believe that you do NOT want to take sales time away from selling to fill out qualification forms for a sales tool.

      GF

      • #3061520

        At last, someone I agree with!

        by kim spence-jones ·

        In reply to are you serious?

        Just what I was thinking. For most of the posts here, you’d think the job spec was “make life easy for IT support”! Boy am I glad I don’t work in a company with most of you guys.

        How are people going to become IT literate if you don’t give them stuff to experiment with? And treat their naieve questions with infinite patience and love. Come on guys, get with the plan — we’re here to help build a better world, not stand in the way of progress.

    • #3061542

      Consider the continent and locality

      by dkmunyere ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      To a person coming from a third world country, a laptop is a must for it is portable. In the third world countries, communication is a big problem. Roads are bad,many places do not have telephone lines or electricity and other essential necessities. Given such a device, an editor like me will do a lot especially when writing a documentary or a magazine article. Give me one and you will be surprised by the results!

    • #3061540

      What is the business need?

      by herb ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      We have established three basic sets of criteria to simplify our role in determining laptop assignments, and options to explore exceptions to those criteria.

      First, we have identified certain job titles that require laptops to be issued. All senior level management, outside sales, high level marketing positions, and field engineers receive laptops because of their outside involvement with our customer base and travel requirements. Project managers also receive laptops due to constant meetings from site to site.

      Second, does the job description require work outside of the office more than 10 hours per week? To be clear on the “work at home” criteria, if the position requires work at home as outlined in the employee?s job description, it is our policy that I.T. will provide equipment to enable the user to work from home. That equipment will be a PC, as we do not require users to use their home equipment for work purposes. Users whose work at home out of convenience and not part of their job requirement do not automatically receive company equipment. For those circumstances a VPN client is provided for use on home equipment. A laptop would be issued only if mobility requirements are clearly justified by the employee?s manger. More about that process later.

      The third set of criteria is to understand how often the mobility benefits of a laptop are actually needed. For example our internal customer support staff, which is about 6 people, does travel to customer sites from time to time, but not often enough to justify the cost of a laptop for all users. This department has two laptops assigned as a shared resource to accommodate their infrequent travel needs.

      As for the rest of the company, we have a pool of six laptops, which can be checked out as an Outlook resource for situations where travel and email access is needed, or if there are internal situations where the temporary convenience of using a laptop is beneficial.

      If a laptop request is outside of these basic criteria, we look at the job position and make the determination is such a position should be recategorized to fit into the first criteria of issuing a laptop based on their job title. In other words, if the request is for a production manager to receive a laptop, do all production managers require a laptop and how often is the mobility of the laptop required? If the mobility requirements are higher for one production manager than the others, we first attempt to offer a shared resource for that group of managers or employees to reduce costs but still offer the convenience of a laptop.

      If the shared resource option is not acceptable, then an employee?s manager can submit a formal request a laptop for an employee if they can justify that there is a strong business need for a laptop.

      Managers must write up a formal request for the laptop purchase with the following justifications.

      1. Describe the business need for the laptop.
      2. Provide a detailed explanation of the expected benefits and productivity gains with a laptop purchase.
      3. Estimate of the percentage of time the laptop would be used out of the office.
      4. Explain why our shared resources (checkout pool or department shared laptop) are not an acceptable option.
      5. Manager must provide a list of alternative options for the laptop request which partially meet the needs of the employee.

      All capitol expenditures must go through an approval process to help control costs. The manager request is submitted to the I.T. manager and must be approved by the I.T. manager, our controller, and then passed on to the president for final approval. Because we are sister company to our parent, the president must then forward the request to the corporate office for evaluation. The bean counters then make the determination to approve the request.

      Our department recognizes that the request process is formal and somewhat lengthy and we strive not to let this get in the way of getting our users what they need. If there is a solid business need that is properly justified, we will go to bat for that request or at least respond with a good alternative if the money is not available or is going to be delayed. With the number of people involved in the approval process and the checks and balances in place, it does allow us to keep costs in line and gets a number of people involved to help our department standardize what type of equipment is issued.

      • #3061501

        Penny wise pound foolish

        by pp_williams ·

        In reply to What is the business need?

        Well,
        I read this and agree that this may be a requirement in a corporate structure, where strict expense approval is mandated. I believe that a cost breakdown should be included for time required for every member of staff that must review, comment and or approve the request. Considering the cost of the equipment and software licenses. Consider the cost and expense of travel time, fuel, even traffic time. Considering the amount of money the organization will save by increasing a user’s productivity. Is this all worth it? Use common sense, be within budget, and get the job done on time. Happy customers, managers, investors and owners are our goal. Lets not make life so difficult.
        Cheers

      • #3061936

        Respect

        by dmouzakis ·

        In reply to What is the business need?

        Clear destinction of roles within processes.

        You have my repsect

        best regards

        Dennis

    • #3061517

      WOW, It’s worse than ever!!

      by aaron a baker ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      After reading all these posts, I’ll be amazed if you don’t come away with your head swirling. It makes for great discussion and certainly some views are quite valid.
      Now I don’t know which is the worse for you, deciding on which post to go with? or deciding on the Laptops. I still think they should only be awarded if the situation warrants it.Want to watch a movie? go to a Theater. Bored on a flight to Nevada, use the Laptop to Work, after all that’s what it’s for isn’t it? 🙂
      Regards and Good Luck
      Aaron

    • #3061480

      Need a balance

      by siuray ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      It really is a balancing act. In my case I drafted a guideline that is approved by the Executive Team to determine who will have a laptop (or the PocketPC which is almost as expensive) and work based on that.

      The guideline is based on the business needs (in my case I asked for more than 21 working days – one month – AWAY from the office but require to use the necessary business tools or access to information during the time), and approved by the Line Management and myself as the IT guy. Other conditions will include training (they have to know how to use it). There is always exception to the guideline, provided the President and myself approve it in writing, so whoever wants to make an exception has to seek approval to the President.

      Agree with some others comments that the importance is to standardize – based on needs and options (such as Wireless access, VPN, etc.)

      Hope this helps…

    • #3061941

      Business problem !!!

      by dmouzakis ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      It sads me when I read comments like “its not your problem…”, “its not your budget…” etc.

      The people are Company people, the laptops are Company laptops and the budget is Company budget. If you want be called the IT manager of this COMPANY then, this is is your problem.

      In my opinion (at least what we did in my company) you should treat this as a business problem. Identify the role in every process that needs to be mobile as fas as computing is concerned and assign Laptops to the role not the person. From the moment you personalize a tool (a computer is nothing more than a business tool) then it becomes a problem.

      If a person that fills the role cannot use the computer (or does not make the most of it) that means that this person needs training, not his laptop taken away…

      Think about this one:
      Whith what criteria do you give mobiles phones away?

      best regards

      Dennis

      • #3061115

        Valid Point

        by aaron a baker ·

        In reply to Business problem !!!

        You make a darned good point. However the question of merit and above all necessity should be first and foremost or else it seems to me we’re just chucking money out the window.Work related Laptops are a must, toys are not.
        The trick is to know the difference and it doesn’t usually take too long to identify the abusers, if we look.
        Regards
        Aaron ]:)

    • #3061766

      What’s worked for me…

      by theisey ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      I can say that I’ve been the “IT police” and have also made it a business decision. Having IT make the decision never worked – We often got it wrong and ended up in many political battles.

      This is a decision that should be made at a level fairly close to the worker. IT can’t know if each and evey person needed a laptop. The boss or the boss’ boss would be able to make the choice pretty easily. If you tie that to their budget, you’ll get far less abuse, but you’ll never eliminate all of the abuse.

      I’ve seen a number of ways to tie it to the budget:
      1) Actual budget dollars
      2) IT allotment where the fictional money represents hardware, software, and networking resources. (IT actually has the money and allots it to the departments. The departments can spend that budget on the services as they see fit.)
      3) Paperwork – You put up a paperwork roadblock so administrators are less likely to create requests. (Only partially effective.)
      4) Central management – The military model is that the administrators at lower levels do a survey of what they support and do. This survey is forwarded to the higher levels for approval. Central command then says you get so many desktops, so many laptops, and so many printers for each purpose. Within that workcenter, office, or project, the local area can then assign them as the need arises.

      • #3071270

        Shared Laptops

        by justaperson ·

        In reply to What’s worked for me…

        While we do have some users that have laptops issued, most are satisfied with the loaner laptops that we have. When someone is travelling or has a special project, they can sign out a laptop for the duration.

    • #3071887

      PDA Instead

      by adnan ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      PDA more cost efficient

      • #3073773

        good idea

        by geekmtl ·

        In reply to PDA Instead

        make them pocket pc’s and if you want clutz proof pda ‘s get ones that are rubber coated

    • #3071061

      laptop request

      by lemszeleong ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      some checklist for you to determine
      – sales reps’ usage of laptop
      – how often they need to update their boss
      – need to work from home?
      – expect instant customer reply

      another solution is to just buy them blackberries. for emails reply purpose and cheaper than laptop

      just my 2cents

    • #3020437

      How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      by thuongnguyen ·

      In reply to How do I determine who REALLY needs a laptop

      We approve laptop for end user base on
      – The Employee Job grade
      – The work field : How many percent they work out of office ?

      The price of laptop are not higher than desktop, but i worried about Data stolen and maintenance fee

      Regards

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