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Scrutiny of IT spending: The new normal

Who in your department needs an iPhone?

Think about it: Who really needs one?

As mobile devices have proliferated, it's become increasingly common for federal employees to expect to get them on the job, either issued by the agency or at least supported by it. But the recent executive order that instructs agencies to limit the numbers they provide is likely to undercut those expectations -- and likely not to be the last such measure.

As we move into the new era of reduced funding, this kind of measure is going to become more common, and the wise manager will start thinking now about how to accommodate it. In this case, figure out who really needs a smart phone to do their jobs. You don't need to provide them for all or even many of your employees. It may be that only a small number of them actually need the functionality of an apps-laden smart phone. It may even be that nobody really needs one. In either case, providing them for only those who really need them saves money.

The order instructs agencies to "assess current device inventories and usage, and establish controls, to ensure that they are not paying for unused or underutilized information-technology equipment, installed software, or services." It also tells them to limit the number of devices issued to employees, consistent with the Telework Enhancement Act, which adds a layer of complexity to the question.

Nevertheless, it's a safe bet that this order is just the start of a new regime of limits. Rather than fighting it, take charge and get ahead of it. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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