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Who owns the company PC's?

By BenWagg ·
I am IS Mgr with a modest network (50-60 clients). When a user needs hardware added or upgraded, I spec it to ensure some standardization, and on the Purch Req, must list the accounting code of the dept the PC is going into. What that means is that the PC belongs to the dept whose budget was charged. It does not belong to the IS Dept.

The problem I see with this is if Dept A lays off 10 people, Dept B hires 5, and Dept C hires 2, I do not have the latitude to redeploy PC's where they are needed without someone raising their hackles over the departmental cross-charges. Recipients object to paying "new" prices for used equipment and start asking me to research fair market value. Depts losing the computers object because they don't want market value for used equipment, they want what the invested put back in their budget.

I believe it would be more efficient for the IS department to "own" all network components and deploy them where needed, as requested by the in-house "customers." This would also free IS to relocate equipment with less bickering.

I am interested in what other companies are doing. How is your equipment paid for/charged? Who has a say in how the IS Admin chooses to deploy the PC's. What are pluses and minuses to the way your company handles this?

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by Bill_W In reply to Who owns the company PC's ...

An interesting topic.

I have had first-hand experience with both scenarios - the so-called "user-pays" one, where a cost centre/business group "owns" the asset; and the "IT owns all" one. Of course, the organisation ultimately owns the asset, irrespective of notional group ownership.

Now some comments. "user pays" - yes, much like you have experienced, with the added wrinkle of the attitude "well I have to pay for it, so I will chose what software, what applications, even what hardware I buy". Gets even more complicated when the business group/cost centre hires its own sort-of-IT staff. My conclusion? Such scenarios work ONLY if the BGs are under a tight lease, and their "ownership" is only notional, ie for accounting purposesONLY. All xfers etc must be approved etc by IT, who must also set standards AND be allowed to enforce them. No sensible org would have different BGs with diff accounting or HR systems, so why do they allow different IT standards etc?

And now the second scenario - IT owns all. Can work really well IF IT is seen to be a board-level function in its own right - ie on a par with manufacturing, sales, r&d, etc, and NOT part of an amorphous "corporate services" group, or (shudder) part of the finance group. Depends on corporate policy and culture, but any org that sees IT and data as being on a par with (say) checking executives travel claims deserves bankruptcy or takeover.

Well, that's my two cents worth - both can work well, but theorg needs a commitment to IT at a high enough level, and IT managers with corporate backbone help.

Other ideas?


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Worst of both worlds

by McKayTech In reply to Who owns the company PC's ...

I work for a government agency in which all IT equipment purchases come out of the IT budget but the business groups make the demands and to a large extent set the standards. So a particular business group could, for example, steadfastly refuse to limit the amount of storage space used by its members; what do they care? - it doesn't cost them anything to have IT add more and more drives.

That having been said, I've worked in both IT-centric and business-centric IT environments and either can work if the executive management is willing to clearly define how it's going to work and not tolerate much sniveling.

The kind of behavior you're seeing is often seen in organizations in which it is believed that one can increase company performance by setting departments at odds with one another. It's actually quite rare in organizations where different departments are bound by a common vision, regardless of the financial structure.


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IT should own tech assets

by MHubbard In reply to Who owns the company PC's ...

I've worked in both environments, and I can easily say that I like the environment I'm in now. But let me explain the corp environment first.

Our corporate offices have approx. 10,000 users, where 90% of that is "the business", the rest IT. In corporate, each business cost center gets charged (and must budget accordingly) for PC's for new users. Also, each department "owns" the equipment. They can say who get's which computer and where.

The IT department is responsible for defining standards and creating departmental "builds" (with a standard core set of apps, and the special departmental apps).

Now I'm the IT Manager for a remote office, away from corporate, so we get to make some of our own policies.

I pay for (and have to budget) all computers and other technical assets out of my cost center. This is done for a couple of reasons: 1. The business can keep track of all tech assets via one cost center, not by several business cost centers; 2. I sign off on all techasset moves, disposal, etc.; 3. We have many moves/turn around within the business departments, so when someone leaves, I collect the equipment for the next person. None of the business departments can fight over who get's what.; 4. We control the "builds" on the computers. If a department needs new software, before any software is purchased, I get involved and my team goes thru a series of tests, to make sure it won't break our "build",; 5. Lastly, my IT department can control inventory much more easily.

While it's more work for myself and my staff, I think it makes much more sense for the company this way.

Hope this helps.


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