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Why I'd rather have an IT department

So, some companies are moving towards allowing staff to buy their own computers to work on?

That all sounds very nice, and whizzy in concept, but...I don't think I'd be wanting that option, myself.

I am a librarian - I do information retrieval and research work. As part of that, I'm reasonably well aware of some sorts of techie stuff, and the main Dos and Don'ts. But when things go wrong, I need a Grown Up, in the form of the IT Department. They are trained and experienced with the proper technical stuff, both the hardware and software. They build the systems we work in. They've dealt with the regular problems that occur pretty frequently, and they have the skills to work out what's going on when a new problem crops up. They know what that random code in that pop-up box means - I certainly don't have a clue, and I definitely don't have the time to find out about it, teach myself about it, and then attempt to fix it. Chances are, I'd end up breaking something else. I need people who know what they're doing, and are familiar with the system and the users, not a contracted external IT support service provider.

From that report, the scheme seems to be focussed on laptops - yes, they are indeed lovely and portable. But would that mean I would have to cart it in to the office and back every day Because, if it was "my" computer, I'd be wanting it at home for evenings and weekends. Why hellooooo muggers - look at me and my daily commute with expensive equipment!
And does that mean friends and family wouldn't be allowed to use the machine, for security reasons? Then how is it "mine"?

Will users get training on keeping the clutter off "their" computer, backing up their personal data etc? Are corporate IT departments meant to become some kind of home IT babysitters?

What about the connection speed? Is a home internet connection fast enough? Reliable enough? Does it have restrictions on data use? Are they likely to go over their limit if they're not usually a heavy internet user? Will their work pay for their home internet connection if they're using their computer and internet connection mainly to work from home? What about if the user is unaware, and has an unsecured wireless network - if they're using it for work, and someone else is using their network for illegal purposes at the same time, who would be responsible? Hell, what if the user downloaded illegal content themselves - whose machine is it then?

What happens if the machine goes kaput?

And when my personally purchased "work" computer gets old and slow, and painful to work on...well, tough. You think I'm going to spend yet more money on just a work computer? I'll just put up with it, gripe, moan, and watch my speed and productivity drop.


Personally I prefer to come in to work, use a pc built and maintained by IT, on systems designed and built by IT, with an IT department a phone call or email away, with people who know me, and what I use my computer for. Then, when I'm finished in the office, I can go home and use my laptop, knowing that there's a nice separation between work, and not-work. If I need to do anything on my work pc, I can access it remotely. No need for this odd half-way option of a work/personal machine.

But then maybe I'm just a grumpy Luddite?


Helen Curtis said…
Couldn't agree more. I have a lot of time for our IT department for all the reasons you have said. They're a phone call away and they understand the systems and what I need to do with them. Hopefully the same can be said for the library if it's ever suggested we might be replaced by Kindles :S
Jennie said…
@Helen I looked at the idea of electronic law books and e-readers a few years back...if they suggest you be Kindled-out, just mention the cost of replacing dozens of e-books (which won't be cheaper if they're in any specialist areas) if they lose their Kindle ;)
Helen Curtis said…
Well hopefully we're not in danger of being kindled-out, certainly not on the basis of current availability of e-books in law. Plus we're really nice :)
Jennie said…
@Helen Oh, being nice *always* helps! :D
beej777 said…
I suspect that it is one of these initiatives that sounds like a great idea to the geekier end of the spectrum (personally I would quite like it), but would be totally offputting to a lot of poeple who don't really care what IT they use as long as it works.

My understanding is that most of the firms who are doing this are using some kind of remote desktop or Citrix style application so that you are basically using a terminal server on your own machine to access the applications and data stored on the company network. Software can still be intalled, supported, administered and licensed centrally (and data stored on the company's secure servers).

They would also require a VPN connection to access the corporate network as well so it should all be secure.

If firms were really talking about a "Wild West" situation where everyone installed all of the corporate applications and data onto their various devices then I would have thought this would create much more work, rather than less, for the IT guys... without even thinking about the data protection and security nightmare which would ensue!

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