Consumer quality technology for the enterprise

Enterprise hardwareIf you have worked in an office environment for any amount of time, you have probably been frustrated by the terrible technology you were required to use to get your job done. Just last night, my Target cashier had to step out from behind her computer terminal that looked like an artifact in the Computer History Museum to help me with issues on the card processor.

If you work for a large enterprise, you likely deal with legacy and out-of-date hardware and software daily. Enterprise software tends to be bulky, difficult to use, and light-years behind the UX and UI of modern consumer technology.

Employees may be using older technology in the office, but they are also bringing smartphones/tablets to work every day. Most of them have devices that are less than two years old, with operating systems that are updated quarterly. The technology your employees use in their personal lives is often the latest and greatest – and they have come to expect that from their employer.

How does the technology discrepancy affect enterprises?

For many IT departments, this gap between personal and enterprise technology has created a security risk. When employees are asked to use outdated, cumbersome systems at work, they often begin looking outside of approved software to meet their needs. It is common for employees to use a “personal cloud” for storage at work, and “shadow IT” is consistently increasing as employees bring their own devices and software to work – with or without organizational approval.

I was recently at the Gartner PCC Conference, and one of the most common phrases I heard was “bringing consumer quality tech to the enterprise.” Companies can no longer risk/afford to provide their employees with sub-par technology. Using outdated tools can have a negative impact on productivity as well as employee engagement.

Frustrating internal systems also lead to lack of compliance. In recent conversations with a Chief Medical Information Officer for a hospital, he expressed frustrations knowing that a lack of compliance was rampant due to inept technical solutions. “The truth is, people are using insecure texting methods now to communicate. Sending photos, using FaceTime – it’s all easy for people to use.” But he also recognizes that as a leader in his organization, it is critical that he help his employees by providing better solutions. “I can tell people not to do things, but if I haven’t provided an alternative, I haven’t done my job.”

When it comes to messaging and communication, one of the most popular places for employees to turn is Facebook groups. Unions often host discussions on Facebook groups and encourage members to participate. Many manufacturing employees frequently check this type of group for information about their company and news within the union. In the restaurant industry, Facebook groups are often used for employees to swap shifts and communicate announcements.

What’s wrong with using Facebook groups for employee/internal communication?

As we have shared in a previous blog, posts on Facebook are not easy to monitor, and as the employer, it is easy to lose control of such a public conversation. Employees are required to link to the groups through their personal Facebook accounts, and there is no way to connect these groups to any internal enterprise systems.

What happens when the employee is fired? Who manages access to the private group and removes access to previous employees? It’s a mess. But many employees are turning to this technology on their own because employers are not offering quality technology for use within the company.

If you want to engage your employees, increase efficiencies, and promote a culture of compliance, start by reviewing your technology solutions. When you are evaluating new tools for your organization, select products that have the look and feel of a consumer product, and meet the security and control demands of the enterprise.

Hannah Beasley
Client Development

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