In yesterday’s Toronto Star, there’s a story about the city of Toronto wants to hire an “enterprise technical support specialist” to look after the city’s 1,800 Blackberrys.
This prompted Councillor Doug Holyday, a non-Blackberry users, to ask why the city’s employees are using so many Blackberrys.
“I think we’re over-BlackBerryed here. I don’t see anybody doing a better job because they’ve got a BlackBerry,” he said. “I hear them going off in council meetings all the time. I wonder what the heck’s going on.”
While Blackberrys can be great communication and productivity tools, Holyday makes a good point, especially for a city struggling financially. Do 1,300 employees really need a Blackberry to do their jobs?
Having lived without a Blackberry for the past few days and survived the need to constantly check my e-mail, I think many companies are, in fact, over-Blackberryed. At many companies, Blackberrys have become standard issue based on the notion that if an employee is accessible at all times day and night, they’ll work more and harder.
Of course, there’s a cost that comes with having a Blackberry. They cost about $75 to $150/month per employee (the city of Toronto is, therefore, spending about $1.8-million/year for its Blackberrys). And there’s a soft cost that companies pay for having employees who aren’t able to disconnect because they’re continually tethered to their corporate Blackberry.
In reality, many employees could easily operate just fine without a Blackberry. Rather than having mobile e-mail and the Web, they could use a basic phone to stay connected – just like the old days.
More: For Blackberry fans out there, Crackberry.com has a review the Niagara 9630.