Congratulations! You’ve made it through the recruitment process, found the ideal candidate for the role, and they’ve accepted your offer. Well done. Now the real work of on-boarding your new staff member and getting them up to speed can begin.
There’s a lot to think about when bringing on a new staff member, of which technology is only one small part. The good news is that getting the technology right doesn’t need to be a stressful or time consuming process.
In this ongoing series we will take you through the key areas that you need to address to ensure your new hire is setup and productive with their technology as quickly as possible. If you haven't already, click on the links to read part one and part two in this series.
Choosing mobile devices
The majority of workers these days, irrespective of their role, will require some level of computer and/or mobile device to do their role. This is an area of your business that will potentially benefit from some standardisation in what products you select, and how you choose to implement them.
1. Do you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?
You will already know the answer to this question, so this step should be super easy. For a quick catch up, check out the first article in this series.
Will the business be supplying all technology equipment such as a computer and a mobile phone, or will the employee be providing some or all of their own?
If you answered yes, the business will be supplying these items, then you can move on to step two below.
Action Item: Proceed to step 2.
If you answered no, the employee will be supplying some or all of their own equipment, then the first thing you need to do is have them sign off on your BYOD Policy document. Don’t have one yet? No problem, head over HERE to download a sample template with some ideas to help you get your own policy in place.
Action Item: Download BYOD Policy template and create your own
Action Item: Have employ sign your BYOD Policy
2. Will they need a basic phone or a Smart Phone?
Not all employees will require a mobile device, perhaps because they’re purely office based with simply no need for mobility. For the rest though, have a think about what they will need to use this device for?
Is it simply to make and take phone calls? In that case a very basic mobile phone may suffice, and potentially provide a more physically robust solution. If on the other hand they also need access to their email on the go, then a smart phone such as an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy may be the best fit.
If you do decide that a smart phone is the way to go, the next question of course is which device to choose. Some people can get pretty passionate about which is the best mobile platform to use. Some people are committed iPhone users, while others won’t consider using anything other than an Android device (most likely a Samsung Galaxy these days).
My advice here is that you need to start with assessing what apps the person will need. If they need to use an app that is only available on the Apple iPhone, then it’s pointless purchasing an Android device because the app simply won’t install. If your requirements are more generic (eg: email), or specific apps you need are available on either platform, then unless you’re running a massive fleet of these devices, you can probably afford to leave it up to the employee’s personal preference, or the advice of your IT support person.
3. When size matters
The next step up in mobility is a tablet device such as an Apple iPad. The main reason for needing a larger mobile device is to enable access to corporate information systems, such as product information sets or quoting tools, which are too involved to operate effectively on a smaller smartphone screen.
If you do decide that a tablet device is worth exploring, I would strongly suggest testing exactly the apps and workflows on the device first. I’ve seen numerous situations where a tablet sounded great in theory, but once put into practise there was some unforeseen complication that meant the solution simply was not viable. Remember, just because a tablet may have the same screen size as a (small) laptop doesn’t mean that it can necessarily do everything that a laptop can do.
4. Internet Connectivity
The other consideration when deciding on a tablet device is what type of internet connectivity this device will require. If the device is required only within areas where it will have a strong wifi signal, such as a properly setup warehouse or office environment, then you don’t need to look any further.
However if the device will be used remotely, such as when visiting with clients, then perhaps consider a device with inbuilt 3G/4G connectivity. You will also need a SIM card and appropriate account from your preferred mobile phone carrier, so make sure to account for that when considering your running costs.
5. Device Security & Management
Mobile devices such as smart phones present a very clear and present threat to the security of confidential corporate information. Have you ever accidentally left your phone in a taxi? Considering that smart phones can now have direct access into a corporation’s internal information systems, the risk is obvious.
At the very least you should have a security policy in place to enforce a PIN code lock on all mobile devices, as well as to provide your IT support team with the ability to remotely wipe any lost or stolen device.
If you are running a larger fleet of mobile devices it may be worthwhile investigating a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system. MDM systems let you centrally manage multiple mobile devices to control security settings, remotely deploy apps and much more.
Mobility is now a given in most corporate environments. By considering these questions ahead of time, the next time you need to bring a new team member onboard you will already know what platforms you support, and what mobile device will best suit their role.
Ben Love, Director of Grassroots IT, is dedicated to the mission of providing “IT Help for Humans”. That means speaking English, not baffling geek speak, so he's always on the same page about your technology and how it’s really contributing to your business. Ben is committed to helping his clients get more from their investment in technology, so they can free up time and resources to focus on what really matters. Make sure to visit the Grassroots IT website here.