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Does anyone know where I can find white papers on IT organizational structure? For instance, instilling a Dynamic view vs. Dictatorial view.

For instance: Should a company dictate which email client to use? Should a company dictate which smart phone to use? Should a company dictate which browser to use? Should a helpdesk team be catering to users or directing users?

I am not looking for answers to the above questions. I am looking for sites / white papers that have explored these questions. There are pros and cons to both being dynamic and being dictatorial. Our company is growing, and along with it we have a split in the IS department about which road/vision we should take.


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Might be interesting on paper, but I would think this is a manager's issue...isn't your company vision/owner/top management supposed to dictate these kind of business philosophy questions? – Bart Silverstrim Sep 21 '10 at 15:40
This should probably be turned into wiki... – GregD Sep 21 '10 at 15:41
Wasn't there a sysadmin named Simon...something...that addressed these type of issues? – Bart Silverstrim Sep 21 '10 at 15:44
@Bart: Yes it is a management issue. However I am in position that can sway management. It would be helpful to have all the arguments and maybe a whitepaper or two to push management in one direction or another. – ChronoFish Sep 21 '10 at 15:50
@GregD: I have flipped the wiki bit. – ChronoFish Sep 21 '10 at 15:51

Anyone writing a document that says "This is the one and only correct way" for topics like this is writing BS, as this is highly dependent on the actual situation in your organization.

I recommend reading "Practice of System and Network Administration" by Limoncelli et al, as they focus on political/policy topics quite a lot and give you many real-world examples.

I would certainly agree with your first sentence. That is why I am looking for discussions on the topic. – ChronoFish Sep 21 '10 at 15:47
There are whole shelves dedicated to it at the bookstore. It's going to heavily depend on your company culture. That's why I mentioned the management/company owner comment before. – Bart Silverstrim Sep 21 '10 at 16:02

IMO, I would say that there is a world of difference between what is "Supported" and what is "Allowed". The company has every right to dictate what they want to be responsible for supporting as well as determining what they want to allow on their network, particularly from a security standpoint.

If you're a primarily Windows shop, but you have people who want to use Linux or Mac, and they can competently support themselves securely, then I would say that so long as they keep the patches up-to-date (and possibly running anti-virus - No, this isn't an invite to get into that discussion), then I would say that they might be allowed to run as they wish. But don't expect much in the way of support from the IT dept other than connectivity and hardware.

The same goes for other apps. Perhaps the company standard is IE, but you have some diehard Firefox or Chrome users. If they can keep themselves up-to-date, then that's fine, but don't expect them to get support from IT.

(Ditto for Blackberries/iPhones/Android/WebOS/etc)

Then again, there is the reasonable case for 'Our Network, Our Rules' policy. Every component does have the potential to impact every other component...

If you are able to make the difference known to your user community, AND make this understood by the Execs (and the IT management doesn't get bullied because the other execs want their "toy"), then you should be fine.

Note that this in no way takes into account Security/Regulatory policies (HIPAA, SAS70, SARBOX, ISOxxxx, etc) - they may impact what is legally allowed.


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