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posted by janrinok on Saturday August 06, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the I'd-like-an-ice-cream-machine-please dept.

An Anonymous Coward writes the following story:

I’ve long believed companies should offer workers a choice in the technology they use in the office and when working remote. Doing so lets employees use what they feel is the best choice of devices for their work, it can help attract and retain staff, it lessens the likelihood workers will go rogue and source their own technology (aka shadow IT), and it establishes a positive relationship between IT and the rest of an organization.

Companies like IBM and SAP have documented their experiences in moving to an employee-choice model and have declared it a success. But does that mean it would work for every company? And how do you decide which way to go?

The most important question in developing (or expanding) an employee-choice model is determining how much choice to allow. Offer too little and you risk undermining the effort's benefits. Offer too much and you risk a level of tech anarchy that can be as problematic as unfettered shadow IT. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Every organization has unique culture, requirements/expectations, and management capabilities. An approach that works in a marketing firm would differ from a healthcare provider, and a government agency would need a different approach than a startup.

Options also vary depending on the devices employees use — desktop computing and mobile often require differing approaches, particularly for companies that employ a BYOD program for smartphones.

Most employee-choice programs focus on desktops and laptops. The default choice is typically basic: do you want a Windows PC or a Mac? Most often, the choice only extends to the platform, not specific models (or in the case of PCs, a specific manufacturer). Keeping the focus on just two platforms eases administrative overhead and technical support requirements. It also allows companies to leverage volume purchases from one partner in order to receive bulk discounts.

Have you been allowed to choose your own technology and equipment at work? What were the choices offered to you and what restrictions were placed upon them?


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  • (Score: 2) by KritonK on Monday August 08, @07:49AM

    by KritonK (465) on Monday August 08, @07:49AM (#1265516)

    I work for a small IT company, which means that most of us can support our own equipment, so that we can use anything we like. More specifically:

    • The CEO uses MacOS. The only support he requires from the support staff (me) is when he wants to do something UNIX-y in the shell.
    • Non-IT personnel get to use Windows and like it. Besides, they need to use certain Windows-only programs (e.g., accounting software), so anything else is not much of an option for them. The CEO tried to give them some hand-me-down Mac laptops for remote working, but this didn't work very well. I suppose that if they had been familiar with MacOS, they would have kept them. Their support requirements are usually limited to software and driver installation.
    • Developers use whatever OS they feel is more appropriate for the job. An Android developer uses Linux, where Android Studio works just fine, while another developer uses Windows for development and Linux for deployment testing of server-side software. The support they get from the support staff (me) is mainly along the lines of "serves you right for using Windows" or "where have they hidden that $%^#^@ setting in this ^&#%^& version of %^&#$@^ Windows this time".
    • The support staff (me) switched to Linux years ago, and couldn't be happier. Of course he supports his computer fully. It's his job, after all!
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