How device choice can change the game for your organisation

Imagine you’re about to start a new job. You’ve managed to land a great opportunity to showcase your skills, individuality and ability to make a difference in an organisation. Maybe, you’ve even landed a pay rise. Life’s good, and this is an exciting time for you.

As your first days unfold, you’ll inevitably request and perhaps even receive your assigned computing device from the IT department.

You know your working style better than anyone, you know your preference for a laptop or desktop, or screen size, or storage, or computing power. So, you would expect to have input into which device you’re expected to use every working day, possibly for the next few years, wouldn’t you?

Or has someone in IT, who knows nothing about you, made that choice for you?

EVERYBODY IS THE SAME, RIGHT?

For a long time, the CIO or IT department has decreed the systems to be used, and allocated the same PC to everyone alike. After all, if everyone is using the same office suite and same core business applications, there’s no requirement to offer other choices as it needs only to be ‘fit for purpose’. The ‘purpose’ in this case, has been defined solely by IT.

When you run an IT department, consistency and conformity make sense. You save money by having fewer options because you get a better price by buying in volume and there’s also less variance in the technology you need to train your support staff in. It makes a big difference.

And this is all very efficient in isolation, but it’s a false economy in terms of the productivity potential of the greater organisation. Consider the logic of saving $100 on a PC purchase, but in return constraining or worse frustrating an employee for their every working hour?

CONSUMERISATION: DISRUPTOR OF THE IT DEPARTMENT

Since the introduction of smartphones, tablets and ‘apps’ into our everyday lives, we have been exposed to an unprecedented level of empowerment and productivity. But what about the workplace? Suddenly the IT department, who historically were the only ones capable of decoding the complexity of technology, are now being given (or is that demanded?) the solutions.

The value of technology in organisations is shifting from provision to consumption. When you think about it, productivity is ultimately derived from those who consume IT services, not those who provide it.

Recognising that many employees are now connected and tech-savvy, IT departments have responded by letting people bring their personal devices into the workplace (commonly referred to as BYOD). But this ultimately creates a challenge for both parties. In order to protect internal systems and information on an ‘uncontrolled’ personal device, controls and policies need to be put in place. Inevitably it becomes a compromise – harder and more complex to support, which is not good for IT, and less functional which takes all the benefit out of bringing your own device in the first place.

This of course is a classical IT approach to the problem, focusing on systems and devices and not people.

BYOD IS SYMPTOMATIC OF A LACK OF CHOICE

There is a different approach that returns the focus to choice and the employee’s needs. By adding additional device options and reconsidering the technology usage policy, the IT department can quickly cater to the many different work styles present in your organisation. Without losing control. And keeping people happy.

And this needn’t come at a great cost to IT, for that same world of new technology that disrupted the IT department, is also there to help.

CatalogIQ was designed to make the transition from authoritarian IT department to people-centric IT department easy. Employees are empowered to make informed, guided choices from a catalogue of technology and business services in an experience that more closely resembles a high–end online shopping site than a typical corporate IT system.

The distinction is deliberate and, while the front end is unashamedly consumer focused, powerful policy engines sort out not only which items are presented for consideration, but also coordinate the approvals and compliance features demanded by enterprises.

The world has changed, it’s time to think differently about how your current and future employees interact with technology in your organisation.