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Facebook售货机,不卖可乐卖键盘

Michal Lev-Ram 2011年07月11日

这家社交网络公司“出售”电源线和其他电子产品的机器彻底改造了公司的技术部门。

图片来源:Facebook

    Facebook的大多数员工不会认为公司的IT部门“很棒”。但该公司最近安装了一系列定制的自动售货机,用来分配计算机配件而不是零食和苏打水。公司首席信息官蒂姆•坎波斯希望,这些机器将有助于改变员工的成见。

    这些自动售货机是坎波斯推出的最新鲜、最异想天开的解决方案。【此前,他推行的项目还包括:在Facebook总部设立多个类似苹果公司(Apple)天才吧(Genius Bar)的IT服务台。】

    尽管为需要电源线和新键盘的员工提供这些计算机配件并非什么难事,但在许多公司,按照流程,员工需要先填写定购表格,IT部门再按这些表格去配备所需的产品,整个过程需要耗时数日。坎波斯决定采取更为简单可行的办法解决这一带有普遍性的问题。他最初的想法是:将计算机配件放到储藏柜里,供员工们自由取用。为了追踪谁拿了哪些东西,他在每个储藏柜旁安装了小型数字商亭,要求领取配件的员工自行刷卡,并标注自己领取了哪些配件。

    “这种做法的效果不太理想。”坎波斯坦承。“我们发现,只有在近5%的情况下,人们肯在数字亭中留下自己领取配件的信息。”

    最终茅塞顿开要感谢他的助理,后者曾在机场无意中看到“出售”iPod的自动售货机。

    坎波斯批准了该项目。于是,他的团队便开始与一家制造商一道,定制生产专为Facebook员工分发计算机配件的自动售货机。

    仅仅6周后,也就是6月份,这些体积庞大的长方形机器就已运至Facebook位于加州帕罗奥图的总部。因此,现在每当Facebook工程师把咖啡洒到键盘上(常见的倒霉事儿),他们不再请求IT人员过来帮忙,也不再从附近的储藏柜中随便乱抓一个替换品,而是直奔自动售货机。他们只需扫描一下自己的胸卡,敲入需要的配件,然后,一个崭新的键盘就自动从售货机里滑出来,供之取用。

    当然,除了提供便利之外,自动售货机还能带来商业收益。坎波斯介绍说,配备自动售货机后,更换计算机配件的管理成本约降低了35%。尽管员工们可以免费领取自动售货机中的产品,但每样物品都带有价签,上面清晰地标示着价格,员工们一望便知自己取用的配件的零售价。而且,使用自动售货机时,员工们还需先扫描胸卡,再选择所需配件。也就是说,被领取的每根电源线、每个键盘、以及每块屏幕清洁布,都与领取员工的姓名直接挂钩,以确保这套系统不被滥用(至少不像以前储藏柜系统那样被普遍滥用)。

    坎波斯是员工责任制的强烈支持者。他用同样的方法管理移动设备的使用。他还表示,在IT部门负责监管的各项内部开支中,移动设备的使用费属于支出最大的三项之一。每名新员工入职时会面临同样的选择:要iPhone还是安卓(Android)设备。虽然公司负责支付每月的语音和数据账单,但员工们也会收到自己每月手机账单的复印件,这样他们便可了解自己的使用特点以及给公司造成的相应成本(他们甚至还能了解到,自己的移动费用比所在部门的平均费用高或低出多少)。坎波斯采用一家名为Apptio的公司提供的服务,对上述成本进行追踪,并为员工提供必需的数据。与部署自动售货机一样,这种方法也有助于降低员工直接产生的成本。当然,即便如此,仍然有几名经理出于习惯,给出差在外的员工打电话而产生了高昂的漫游费。但坎波斯表示,这一做法的效果是积极的。

    “迄今为止,没人认为IT部门采取的一系列措施是在对员工进行惩罚。”坎波斯表示:“我们不过是让他们了解其产生的电话成本,而他们亦只需做自己该做的。”

    为了降低成本而将每月的电话账单复印件寄给员工,这听起来大概不怎么“棒”。但是,能免费从自动售货机领取计算机配件,即使要留下供追踪的信息,还是挺酷的一件事(至少与先填写配件需求表,然后再等着IT人员做出响应比起来要强多了)。

    目前Facebook公司内已安装了三台自动售货机。坎波斯表示,如果一切顺利的话,他们还会在公司位于门罗公园的新总部再部署数台自动售货机,每层楼两台。而且,这些机器内还会配备手机和个人计算机等价值较高的物品。

    “现在,所有员工都得刷卡方能领取所需配件,而且对于自己领取的物品,他们也表现出比较强的责任感。”坎波斯表示:“更为重要的是,这种做法很酷。员工们非常喜欢这些机器。”

    译者:大海

    Most employees wouldn't describe their IT department as "awesome." But Facebook CIO Tim Campos is hoping a series of custom-made vending machines that dispense computer accessories instead of snacks and sodas will help change that perception.

    The vending machines are Campos' latest and quirkiest undertaking. (Previous projects include setting up Genius Bar-like IT help desks—a la Apple (AAPL)—throughout Facebook headquarters.)

    While getting power cords and replacement keyboards to employees who need them sounds easy enough, at many companies the process requires filling out order forms that can take IT departments days to fulfill. Campos decided to take a more user-friendly approach to this common problem. His original idea was putting computer accessories into cabinets that employees could freely access. To keep track of who was taking what, he installed small digital kiosks next to each cabinet and asked employees to swipe their badge and mark which accessory they took.

    "It didn't work very well," Campos admits. "We found that only about 5% of the time did people bother to tell the kiosk that they took an accessory."

    The "aha moment" came from his assistant, who came across an iPod-dispensing vending machine in an airport.

    Campos green-lighted the project and his team began working with a manufacturer to custom make machines that could dispense computer accessories for Facebook employees.

    Just six weeks later, in June, the bulky, rectangular machines arrived at the social networking company's Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters. So now, when Facebook engineers spill coffee on their keyboard (a common mishap) they head to a nearby vending machine instead of hitting up their IT guy or just grabbing a replacement from a nearby cabinet. They swipe their badge, key in their selection and voila—a brand new keyboard drops down for them to take.

    Of course, there is a business benefit to the vending machines. According to Campos, they've reduced the cost of managing replacement accessories by about 35%. While products found in the vending machines are free, items are clearly marked with price tags so employees can see the retail value of each accessory they take. The new vending machines also require all employees to swipe their badge before making a selection. That means each and every power cord, keyboard and screen wipe they take can be traced back to their name, ensuring that the system won't be abused (at least not as much as the previous cabinet system was).

    Campos is a strong proponent of employee accountability. He's taken the same approach to managing mobile usage, which he says is one of the top three internal expenses his department oversees. Each new hire that comes through the door is given the same choice—iPhone or Android device. Facebook picks up the monthly voice and data tab, but employees receive a copy of their bill each month so they can personally keep track of their usage patterns and corresponding cost to the company (they can even see how they rank relative to their department's averages). To track these costs and provide employees with the necessary data, Campos uses a service from a company called Apptio. Like the vending machines, that's helped Facebook cut costs incurred by employees. Of course, it's also led to several managers calling out workers with expensive roaming habits, though Campos says it's all been done in the spirit of positivity.

    "It's not been perceived as something where the IT organization is coming down on employees," says Campos. "We're just sharing your cost and you get to do what the right thing is."

    Sharing monthly phone bills with employees in order to cut costs may not sound "awesome." But getting free—albeit trackable—computer gear from a vending machine is kind of cool (at the very least, it beats putting in an order and waiting for IT to respond).

    Three machines are already installed and Campos says if all goes well Facebook's new headquarters in Menlo Park will soon be decked out with two vending machines per floor. And future machines could also dispense higher-value items like phones and PCs.

    "Now 100% of employees have to badge in, and there's better accountability on what people are taking," says Campos. "More importantly, it's just cool. Employees love to see these machines."

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