Automate, and get out of the way. That's the IT philosophy of Ashwin Ballal, CIO of semiconductor company KLA-Tencor. He is a firm believer in the employee-liable model for enterprise technology. "All our mobile devices are personally owned," he says. "So, when iPad came out, I stuck with the same policy. If someone wants to buy an iPad, we told [that person] we would support it."
This year, though, Ballal ended up bucking his own trend. When the company reached a record sales milestone earlier this year, the decision was made to reward each one of its 5,400 employees around the world with a WiFi-capable iPad as a thank-you gift.
The deployment was completed in two-and-a-half weeks.
"We found a company that does mobile-platform management," explains Ballal, who worked with vendor MobileIron on the project. "We were able to automate self-provisioning over-the-air for all 5400 employees. Once the employee took delivery of an iPad, he or should could go to an external drive, provision the device over the air and connect to our network."
The key was keeping things simple when it came to developing the provisioning documentation that accompanied each device. "The mandate from me was that this would be written at a third- or fourth-grade level," says Ballal. "On the first version of documentation that came in, the number of redlines were immense. I said, 'It has to be no more than a page,' and I got a document that was 10 pages long." Eventually, after several revisions, the document was ready to be sent to the field.