Networking and collaboration
Networking and virtualization are integral parts of any IT system. Interconnectivity is essential in encouraging collaboration and virtualizing the workplace, which makes it more flexible and versatile. Networking begins with end-user devices.
There are several different ways of linking devices together to create a robust IT network. The latest innovations in networking include cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). Cloud computing offers numerous tailor-made solutions, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), that allows companies to leverage already existing networking capabilities.
In SaaS, for instance, you can direct all in-house and remote employees to a common software resource, like an ERP, via various devices.
However, remember that the types of end-user devices you choose can limit or dictate the network infrastructure. Most laptops, for instance, can only network via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Plus, there is a limit to how far you can stretch the networking performance on many devices.
Cost-effectiveness and productivity
Cost is, of course, another thing you need to factor into your end-user device strategy. IT devices don’t come cheap. So, it’s crucial to consider your IT budget and the expected ROI on IT investments.
It makes sense to purchase expensive devices if their impact on employee productivity and the overall business performance justifies the price tag. Also, don’t make the mistake of just looking at the initial investment in your cost analysis. Remember to include maintenance costs, additional enabling expenses, and upgrades or changes.
A common solution to the cost of end-user devices, especially among start-ups and SMEs, is the “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy. In fact, the BYOD movement is beginning to gain traction as a majority of employers continue to encourage employees to bring their own laptops, smartphones, and tablets to work.
A BYOD workplace can save you money and improve employee’s satisfaction since they are working with devices that they’re already familiar with. However, a flexible BYOD policy can pose a number of security risks. Risks may include a lack of standardizations and some compatibility issues.
Narrowing down on your end-user device strategy
End-user devices are primarily designed to enable employees in their tasks, process data, and other workplace operations, improve workplace efficiency, encourage collaboration, and take advantage of modern tech and business innovations. This is the checklist that you should always keep in mind when crafting an end-user device strategy. Besides this, ask yourself these three crucial questions:
- What are your workplace and business functions?
- Which IT resources do you need for all your business functions?
- In which ways will these resources impact your business performance?
Once you have clear answers to all three questions, then you should have a pretty good idea of what your business needs and how to personalize end-user devices for every aspect of the enterprise. It also helps to bounce ideas off your employees as you work out the right approach to their needs. Employee involvement can bring to your attention some critical considerations and insights that you may not have thought of by yourself.
An end-user device strategy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What you decide should depend on your workplace setting, employee preferences, IT budget, security requirements, and ROI. Some companies are so particular about their needs that they end up developing custom end-user devices and software. The point is, it all comes down to you.
Remember, however, that besides achieving the desired functionality and checking all the technical boxes, your end-user device strategy must reflect positively on the “end-users.” Ensure that your choices motivate your staff members towards efficiency and productivity. Keep in mind that the success of your end-user device strategy depends heavily on the satisfaction of the users themselves.