Wireless Devices Becoming an IT Burden

BlackBerrys are the biggest usurper of IT time, according to a study, but many pros still blame compliance and unsavvy users.

As wireless technologies have enabled more workers to telecommute and companies to employ a distributed work force, the support of wireless devices has increasingly burdened IT departments.

BlackBerrys were cited by two-thirds of respondents to a recent study as the device that usurps the most IT resources, according to CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), an industry consortium that commissioned the survey. Pagers came in second, reported by nearly 11 percent of respondents, followed by digital music players (4.5 percent) and handheld computers (4 percent).

Though productivity and work force efficiency can be enhanced by these go-anywhere technologies, IT bears the brunt of the extra resources and labor required to maintain them.

"Today's IT professional is no longer dealing with a handful of computers and printers networked in a single location," said John Venator, president and CEO of CompTIA, in a statement. "They're dealing with a plethora of devices that connect the headquarters to a mobile workforce, at-home teleworkers and satellite offices half a city or half a continent away."

But not all IT professionals agreed. For some, all of the documentation relating to Sarbanes-Oxley Act auditing was what they considered their biggest time drain.

"Endlessly searching for best practices and having to constantly validate that it is better to handle development in-house than to send it offshore [takes up my time]," one quality assurance manager told eWEEK.

Another IS professional said that wireless devices were far from his biggest time killer; software installations and fixing users' software conflicts were what always set his schedule back.

"My biggest time waster has been people who consider themselves IT-savvy," a network engineer told eWEEK, and who send techies on a wild goose chase when something goes wrong with their desktop, only to realize later that it was something the user had done.