How To Get IT To Pay For The Tech You Crave - InformationWeek
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09:51 PM
Dino Londis
Dino Londis

How To Get IT To Pay For The Tech You Crave

How to get IT to pay for your tech.

BYTE--With the consumerization of IT (COIT), companies are starting to accept that, one way or the other, you're going to bring your own goodies to work.

The trick is trying to get the IT department to pay for that shiny new smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, Mac or any other techtoy or software/service you crave.

You just have to know how to make a case for it. Here are some angles I suggest you take.

The first is this: Offer to be a tester. That's right. Tester. Most people don't know it, but this is the fastest way to get IT to put a new piece of hardware in your hands. Be the IT department's guinea pig. They need guinea pigs.

To stay ahead of the COIT curve, more IT departments are testing products. Just offer to develop a testing procedure along with your IT department.

Think like IT. Find out what IT wants to know and offer to help it deliver. Is IT considering switching from AT&T to Verizon? Offer to test the Verizon service during your commute--provided the enterprise pays for it. Is the company considering allowing tablet use? Yep. You are the perfect candidate to test out an iPad for employee use. If those folks pay for it.

Is the company planning a desktop deployment or an Office 2010 upgrade? Volunteer to learn it and tell them how it could work best in your department.

Recently my company made my entire IT department watch a two-and-a-half hour tutorial by Microsoft on Office 2010. We did it. Not only did we learn some deep stuff--like how you can produce searchable PDFs from original print materials--but Microsoft ended up giving us all free copies.

Why would your IT department agree to this? Why wouldn't they test it themselves? Simple. IT doesn't use the apps you use. I'm in IT. I know. We don't use the same customer relation management software you do--because you are our customer. We don't use the same productivity apps, tools, or gadgets--and if we do, we don't use them in the same ways.

Sure, we use Word and PowerPoint on occasion, but we're far more comfortable with the Windows registry, screen capture, daemons, or group policy. No one knows the real applications and hardware better than the employees who lean on it day-to-day.

So who better than you to test the newest gadget or platform? That's essentially your argument. Say that verbatim. See what happens.

And why stop there. Get the company to pay for your smartphone, too. Companies already lease BlackBerry phones for employees. And everyone knows the employees make personal use of them, too. So if the company does it with the BlackBerry, you might ask, why NOT your iPhone? Hmm?

Tell IT you use the self-provisioned device for work. A lot. IT departments might dismiss your request with security concerns, true, but that argument is beginning to dissolve anyway. Poke right through it with this: The productivity gains are great among employees armed with the tools they like.

To any security backtalk, just agree to install any security software they require. If you can, be first to bring up the security concerns you know they'll have. Deal with the issue of security head on.

For instance, the iPhone has software that can wipe the device on 10 failed attempts. Many enterprises already use it. Offer to install security precautions straight away and head objections off at the pass.

It isn't hard to see why IT would agree to this. After all, they gave you that BlackBerry Curve or whatever in the first place because they want you available at all hours--after 5:30 p.m. or maybe even all night long.

Face it. Companies are asking for a piece of your personal life. They should pay for the service you use to connect with them during off hours. As long as the company's data is secure--here's your argument--in the end the device you use is arbitrary. Completely arbitrary. You can say that verbatim, too. They'll get it.

Finally, there's a great argument you should make to have IT upgrade your home PC. If you ever connect to the office to remotely work--whether it's through a remote desktop connection or you're just at home doing work and email--why are you the one paying for your computer? Why? Someone (not you) should be footing the bill.

Again, if you are producing in between bites at dinner, you have a strong case to make here. Especially because a lot of companies held off on new hardware purchases during the economic downturn, your hardware is probably old enough for you to make a case to replace it.

Your enterprise is probably now in the process of decommissioning Windows XP systems, for example. Maybe those are more powerful than what you have at home. Sad but true. The same recession hit you, too. If you're trying to drive a Pentium II on a Core IV freeway, it's time to stop. Just pull that bad boy over. Get your boss to upgrade that rusty home system.

The PC won't be yours to keep, but it will be yours for as long as you work there. And if you work there long enough, your hardware will become obsolete in IT's eyes and you'll likely get to keep it anyway.

Be crafty and take advantage of the COIT revolution. There has never been a better time for you to get your employer to buy you great hardware and software. It's time to BYOT--bring your own tech--and sooner or later, your employer is going to go along with the ride. The sooner, the better.

Got other ideas? Email me. I'd love to hear them. For BYTE, I'm Dino Londis.

Dino Londis is a BYTE technologist specializing in COIT. He's also an IT Pro at a NYC law firm. Email him at

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