Last month, I wrote about what I consider to be one of the biggest sticking points for bring-your-own-technology programs: providing support for a plethora of devices selected and purchased by employees. I noted that some companies ask their employees to essentially support their own devices by working with the companies from which they purchased their smartphones or laptops. Yet entrusting employees with support leads to concerns over downtime and lost productivity.
I shared an approach suggested by Sam Gross, VP of Global IT Outsourcing Solutions at Unisys, a consulting and IT services company that is a big proponent of BYOT programs. Some Unisys clients poll their employees about their technology preferences via Web-based surveys, then present them with a "white list" of approved technologies and support options. Wrote Gross:
That way, you can not only put a corral around the 'Wild West' of technologies, but also make your employees feel empowered that they have choice-increasing productivity and lowering costs at the same time.
I agree with Gross. Limiting choices will obviously make it easier for IT teams, both internal and external, to provide effective support. I think the survey is an important step, to make sure you give employees enough technology choices they genuinely like.
But even with a "white list," it makes sense to empower employees to take a more active role in supporting their own devices. Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping and review site, provides a resource that might help: a collection of gadget manuals available for free download. Yes, the site's focus is on consumer rather than business electronics. But many of the devices coveted by employees, including iPads, straddle both categories.
Oddly, I couldn't find a selection of Apple manuals on the master list, but it was included in a list e-mailed to me by Retrevo. Go figure. The message also included a link to manuals for 58 brands of laptops-another list business users might want to bookmark.