I think of it like hot dogs. Nobody wants to know what goes inside a hot dog. And once you do, it’s kind of hard to get excited about eating one. That’s the way it is with mobile devices. There are gadget heads in the IT department, and they do get excited about new devices. But they also know what makes the services and applications tick, and it’s hard to be truly enthusiastic when you know how much work it’s going to take to make the newest mobile device ready for the enterprise.
And there’s an interesting follow up comment over there:
If IT managers do know what it takes to make the device work, then why is it that so many devices are made without thinking about manageability and still succeed in the market place? Are they not being heard or are they not loud enough?
Speaking from experience, IT managers are simply not even part of the conversation. Let’s face it, how many of your users, from management level on down, take the time to ask the IT Department before deciding they have to have the latest mobile device? Given the fact that there’s a really good possibility that they will go out and buy themselves a device without checking with the IT folks, what incentive do the manufacturers have to make sure the device is enterprise-ready? The biggest gadget heads in our office are not the IT folks, for much the same reason Daniel gave, it needs to make sense within our environment, our lifestyle, etc. before we make a purchase decision, other folks don’t think that way.
I’ve seen people sitting at their desk, within reach of both their desk phone, and their cell phone, each with a speaker-phone capability, using a bluetooth earpiece because they bought it and so they have to use it. It doesn’t benefit them in any logical way, but they had to have it. We’ve had folks decide they want the latest Blackberry devices (and this is where I disagree with Daniel, blackberry devices are not that exciting when you have to support them all the time. I’ve grown to hate them.) then get angry with us when we can’t teach them to use all the functions. Nevermind the fact that they are the only one who has that particular device in the whole office, and we’ve never even seen one, we’re somehow supposed to support it. Lastly, don’t even get me started on the number of folks who’ve gone out and ordered equipment that simply won’t work in our office. The folks with a Palm or PocketPC device when we have a Blackberry server for wireless email, the folks who bought a MacBook and still wanted to use the Windows-only VPN software to work from home, or the one years ago who bought a USB-connected Palm device when their desktop at work was NT Workstation, with no USB support. Do you honestly believe the IT manager was ever given the opportunity to be part of the conversation between manufacturer and consumer? Nope, not even close, but they still got their sale, didn’t they?
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