August 15, 2022

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Is it dangerous to offer workers too many tech choices?

I’ve lengthy believed firms ought to supply staff a selection within the know-how they use within the workplace and when working distant. Doing so lets workers use what they really feel is the only option of gadgets for his or her work, it could actually assist entice and retain workers, it lessens the chance staff will go rogue and supply their very own know-how (aka shadow IT), and it establishes a constructive relationship between IT and the remainder of a company.

Firms like IBM and SAP have documented their experiences in transferring to an employee-choice mannequin and have declared it a hit. However does that imply it might work for each firm? And the way do you resolve which solution to go?

A very powerful query in creating (or increasing) an employee-choice mannequin is figuring out how a lot selection to permit. Supply too little and also you danger undermining the hassle’s advantages. Supply an excessive amount of and also you danger a degree of tech anarchy that may be as problematic as unfettered shadow IT. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each group has distinctive tradition, necessities/expectations, and administration capabilities. An strategy that works in a advertising and marketing agency would differ from a healthcare supplier, and a authorities company would want a distinct strategy than a startup.

Choices additionally differ relying on the gadgets workers use — desktop computing and cellular usually require differing approaches, significantly for firms that make use of a BYOD program for smartphones.

PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, and different desktops

Most employee-choice packages give attention to desktops and laptops. The default selection is usually fundamental: would you like a Home windows PC or a Mac? Most frequently, the selection solely extends to the platform, not particular fashions (or within the case of PCs, a particular producer). Maintaining the give attention to simply two platforms eases administrative overhead and technical assist necessities. It additionally permits firms to leverage quantity purchases from one accomplice so as to obtain bulk reductions.

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The rise of Chromebooks in enterprise expands that selection, as does using different working techniques reminiscent of various flavors of Linux or particular variations of Home windows. Though Home windows 11 has been out for a while now, many organizations are nonetheless tied to Home windows 10 — partly for simplicity of assist and partly as a result of many older PCs don’t meet the requirement of Home windows 11. 

Google is making a play for the enterprise by providing ChromeOS Flex, which turns ageing PCs and Macs into Chromebooks. This permits firms to proceed to make use of machines which have dated or restricted {hardware}, nevertheless it additionally means including assist for ChromeOS gadgets. As a result of Flex is so new, it is not clear simply how possible it’s with varyious {hardware} configurations.

Then there’s the choice of going past simply particular platforms. Though {hardware} uniformity makes it simpler to deploy, handle, and assist a fleet of gadgets, some customers would possibly want particular fashions, specs, or producers. And even a minimal quantity of {hardware} selection can tremendously increase the overhead for deployment and assist, significantly if you use a number of producers.