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Does your company provide IT staff with blackberries or PDAs?

Our company is providing Blackberries to senior staff and a few other selected staff this month. We are trying to make  a case for IT help desk and the sys admin to be provided with Blackberries to facilitate off hours support and receive timely notifications of network outages. As of now they are expecting us to use personal cellphones.  I was wondering what other companies did regarding this and if it was standard practice to provide blackberries or PDAs to support staff.
   Thanks
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ajwsmis
Asked:
ajwsmis
9 Solutions
 
RogieeCommented:
We provide blackberries for almost everyone in the company.
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Gary CutriCommented:
Hi, I have setup over 4700 BES systems for our corporate customers.  I have ensured all I.T staff that support the Blackberry fleet and\or BES are supplied with devices.  To help justify the expense we setup Mobile Admin (http://www.roveit.com/) on the BES and I.T devices so they can also be used to remotely manage the I.T infrastructure.  When I.T staff have devices they are quickly able to provide answers to all handset questions, also if a user reports a fault they can quickly test it on their own device.
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Frosty555Commented:
The company that I worked at did something similar to this. Our support system was ticket based, and often the support staff was waiting on an email to come through from the client (screenshots of the problem etc.). They carried around blackberries so that they didn't have to be tethered to their desk all day. They could tell as soon as the email came in, so they knew to go back to their desk and deal with it. It was useful for the clients that were particularly time sensitive. Makes the help and support staff feel less like prisoners :)

However, I think it only really makes sense if a lot of your support is email driven. It may make more sense for your sys admins to have blackberries, so that they can receive email notification of problems with the servers. The help desk might be better off just having cordless phones if they are more phone driven than email driven ;)
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Matthew NguyenCommented:
This really depends on how your company communicates and IT infrastructure is set up.  It is almost standard to provide staff with PDAs now, but whether that makes employees and processes more efficient is the big question.  

At my previous job, working for an IT consulting company, our whole IT team had PDAs and the system was set up where email alerts were sent if any ticket was submitted through our ticketing system, as well as email alerts for system downtime/outages/errors occurring.  So it was crucial for our whole IT staff to have PDAs, that's how vital communication is done.  If your company doesn't have this infrastructure in place and communication is done verbally, getting PDAs would not add that much more efficiency.

What I would suggest is running an efficiency analysis with your IT group and find out where the bottlenecks are in communications.  Areas you can take a look at:

1. Average time to respond to issues during work hours
2. Average time to respond to issues off hours
3. In relation to above, how is the communication from issue to resolution done?
4. Where is the common communication hold up when an issue arises?
5. Is there frustration on your IT team in regards to the communication?

These are just a few questions that will help you along your way.   When we approached consulting jobs with companies, we normally do the analysis and test PDAs with a couple of the company's head IT staff, making note of the goals we wanted to achieve (example: response time) and if that goal change after 3 months of usage.

Hope this helps!

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natybCommented:
The average time for response in my old company was 24hrs. At first, they only gave blackberries to "key personnel" but then had to add IT to the mix when people started having issues after hours. We were expected to accommodate clients after hours, but then had no tech support when something happened. That was frustrating for everyone involved and it made us look unprofessional...
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FWestonCommented:
Our company would give the janitor a Blackberry if he even remotely hinted that he wanted one.  About 90% of our employees have PDAs and about half have aircards too.  Our business does involve a significant amount of travel however.

I worked for a company in the past where they refused to issue PDAs.  This was about 5 years ago when PDAs weren't yet the norm, but we solved that problem by getting a single phone and rotating it among on-call staff.

I would imagine they might change their attitude if employees were needed and they couldn't get in touch with someone on their personal cell phone.  My point of view is that if you need to be able to reach me 24x7, then you should be paying my cellular bill.
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AdamYMCACommented:
We provide Blackberrys to "Senior Staff" and a limited amount of other special cases.  If I didn't have to support them I might not have been issued one, but that's not the case.  I didn't own one before I took this position, so it would have been pretty difficult for me to walk people through using them with no experience.  They are definitely quirky and, unless your company expects their employees to deal directly with the telco when they have problems/questions, someone in IT needs to have one.
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Mighty_SillyCommented:
Along with everthing mentioned by all previous folks, few important points I would raised would be:

- ability for HelpDesk & SysAdmin (refer to as Support Staff from this point on) to be familiarized with the device menus - this is due to the fact that a lot of times, Help calls aren't necessary with the system as much as "User Error" (shall I put it nicely).
- ability for support staff to track issue - as how else would you know if problem is fixed on the back end and the issue would be due to the physical location of the caller (dead zones, out of coverage, etc.)
- allow support staff to set up BES monitor alert to be "Pro-Active" in resolving issue before it becomes widely felt by users
- ability for support staff to test future requests and answer "could it be done" questions by senior staff for bells & whistles they get when traveling or sales pitch from 3rd party vendor relating to "extending" BlackBerry functionality

Hope that helps somewhat with the support argument.

Cheers
-silly-

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AdamYMCACommented:
Silly makes a good point.  A couple of times I've had to had the user walk me through whatever crazy thing they decided to do so that I could "break" my Blackberry in the same way and walk them through a fix.  

We don't have a BES, so there are a lot of ways users can mess these up.  Installing the software on their home computer and syncing the BB there (and clearing all their work stuff in the process) is one of my favorites.  "It kept asking me if I was sure a bunch of times and now my calendar is blank..."
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