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The headache of PDAs

The headaches experienced by IT managers in the 1980s when end-users bought PCs on petty cash for business use have returned with a vengeance with personal digital assistants.

Managing the influx of PDAs into end-user departments is the hottest topic being debated on the Corporate IT Forum's private intranet, which can be accessed by senior user members from the UK's largest organisations.

The core issue is that PDAs are proliferating before specific policies have been put in place. That is creating a catch-up situation, with management trying to build controls and policies based on a sound business case.

However, few end-users are able to make a sound business case for them, and have not factored in many associated issues. These include security, virus protection and ownership of corporate data that is pushed onto an employee-owned device.

Several members of the Corporate IT Forum reckon that PDAs require more support than laptops, but that support, especially of personal equipment used for business purposes, is being pushed onto IT departments.

Where possible, members are advising each other to get a PDA policy ahead of developments, and to build in a business case setting out true costs.

Many people in the business believe that replacing laptops with a desktop plus PDA will bring lower total cost of ownership. However, they do need to incorporate additional software and licence costs into account.

For more information on The Corporate IT Forum  www.tif.co.uk

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