% fortune -ae paul murphy

User management view

From a user management perspective an IT initiative to implement thin clients in your area is a threat, but it's usually smarter to respond to this positively in hopes of pushing IT in the smart display direction than to fight it. There are two main reasons for this:

What you need to remember throughout all this is first that smart display is not about technology, it's about who controls the technology and how that control is expressed - and second that working through the process of explaining benefits to your subordinates is the best way to ensure that you develop a deep understanding of what the benefits can be and how to realize them.

Start with one certainty: there are real benefits to thin clients, and the stronger your working relationships with IT, the better positioned you'll be to realize on those benefit opportunities - there are situations, in other words, in which you should initiate thin client discussions with your IT group.

Once serious discussions have started you will almost always, however, become the subject of a counter campaign by PC people in your own organization who fancy themselves technology experts and act as focal points and spokespeople for dissatisfaction. What they'll do more than anything else is spread disinformation to colleagues who have every reason to believe them and no independent sources of information.

I don't know what the right answer is or even if one exists, but three clear steps in the right direction are:

In particular you will want to make it clear to users that:

Less obvious, but equally important, mid management drivers arise from cost and presence issues. Making things easier and cheaper for users is important to user management, but the structure has to make it clear that user management, not IT, is in charge of what the system does, for whom, and when. This subsection, therefore, will look at the usual user management concerns and discuss inteligent responses including:

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.