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“I love where our IT consumerization initiative is taking us, the autonomy and flexibility we can afford our employees is amazing, especially for our mobile workforce who feel much better connected and say they waste less time”

 

A fairly typical conversation about the benefits of IT consumerization you might think, and indeed it had been up to that point. I was at the Service Desk and IT Show in London in April and got chatting to a VP of IT from a large technology company with a major presence in the UK.images.jpeg.jpg

 

We chatted about their experiences with BYOD, self-service and their transition to being 80% cloud based in terms of corporate applications. Advanced? perhaps - but not exceptional these days by any means. Then he said…

 

“I asked my team to look at developing guidelines for connecting to our systems outside working hours. We’re keen to make sure people don’t overdo it and stress themselves out.”

 

I must have done a pretty poor job at masking my surprise, because he quickly followed up with “yeah, most people react like that”

 

“We’re thinking about building a course too, to help people put technology and connectivity in perspective”

 

 

 

Managing our relationship to technology

 

It was the first time I could recall human factors playing a role in end-user education - outside of the more usual ethical and legal policies and the ergonomics of sitting correctly and adjusting the height of my monitor.

 

pixel_heart_by_smarticles101-d2y45vs.jpgThis was guidance, in essence, about how to be in relation to the technology and the opportunity that technology presented to be connected everywhere, right around the clock.

 

“The secret, we think, is to have a healthy outlook on the technology and make sure that when people do use it outside of normal working patterns, that they’re looking carefully at why they’re doing it and how it’s making them feel”

 

This was progressive thinking, although not without precedent. This is a pretty hot area in many tech circles right now, with a few key influencers advocating a more considered and mindful approach to the consumption of technology and the relentless stream of information.

 

In a recent episode of Mindful Cyborgs - a show that Chris Dancy co-presents with WIRED’s Klint Finley - there was a great discussion with Nathan Jurgenson about some of the social implications of increased connectivity.

 

 

 

Is always-on more stressful or less stressful?

 

For many, the flexibility and autonomy afforded by a generous and forward thinking consumerization approach has transformed their working lives, with any additional potential stress easily mitigated by the convenience. I’d definitely include myself in that category.

 

I’ve spoken to plenty of people who feel more stressed by not being connected, nervous about what they’re missing, or the perceived build up Unknown.jpeg.jpgof work while they were off the grid and unable to respond. By the way, this viewpoint probably isn’t healthy either.

 

But there are, of course, those who find the degree of connectivity we now have highly stressful. In many cases the real anxiety arises from a perceived expectation (real or imagined) that they should always be available and up to speed.

 

 

Over to you…

 

What do you think? Does greater connectivity and flexibility work for you? Or do you savor every second away from your devices? Perhaps you’ve struck a balance and have some great advice to share?

 

Comments below – or tweets to @messagemonger

 

Cheers!

 

Chris

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In only its second year, The Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) Conference is generating lots of interest, mainly for being at the forefront of the enterprise IT revolution. As more employees bring their own smartphones, tablets, apps and even clouds to work, corporate IT is faced with quickly developing bring your own device (BYOD) policies and strategies. According to CITE organizers, the wave of innovation in the consumer space is transforming the way companies do business, both inside and outside of the enterprise.


The CITE Conference is June 2-4 in San Francisco and BMC is proud to be a sponsor, exhibitor and contributor. With the recent introduction of MyIT, BMC is revolutionizing the way corporate users consume IT. By giving end users direct, easy access to basic IT services, MyIT increases productivity across the entire company.


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On Tuesday, June 4th at 11:30 am, Chris Dauw, MyIT Product Manager, will be speaking as part of the Bring Your Own Service (BYOS) Track at the CITE Conference. Chris' topic is 'Power to Your People: Transforming the End User Experience of IT' and he will be sharing the new approach for IT service and support delivery. Join us and find out how you can help transform your end user’s experience of IT, while meeting the demands for greater efficiency. 


MyIT won the 2012 Pink Elephant Innovation of the Year Award for being the greatest contribution to IT service management. Stop by booth #206 to view a demo of MyIT and see how easy and intuitive it is to use. We've taken the consumer IT experience and brought it to corporate IT.



For live updates from the CITE Conference, please follow @BMCSoftware on Twitter and watch for #CITE13.

 

 




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This week, Chris Dancy and Chris Rixon take the Zoo on a tour through the amazing world of consumerized IT, such as mobile, social and various carbon-less options to reduce friction in a "digitally dualistic society."

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I don’t drink, I don’t smoke but I do have a serious book habit – I know, rock ‘n’ roll right? Supporting my book addiction is one of the best consumer experiences there is: Amazon.com. It’s also one of the most overused examples, but with good reason. It just works, and even better, I actually enjoy the process. The question is: is my loyalty driven purely by the online experience? Or is something bigger going on?

 

In this blog series I’ll be exploring the fundamentals of consumer service delivery. Along the way, we’ll identify approaches that could be workable and meaningful for IT. We’ll also start to build a much-needed working definition of IT consumerization, together with some practical steps towards modernization of the IT supplier-consumer relationship.

 

Lots has been written about giving IT consumers an experience in the workplace that matches the levels of service they’ve come to expect in their personal lives. And, quite rightly, a lot of the attention focuses on giving business users choice, flexibility and a great online experience. However, the new and slick presentation of your services needs to be matched with seamless and reliable service delivery.

 

So what can we learn from the giants of customer service when it comes to delivering on the promise of the sexy storefront? How do they use logistics as a secret weapon in a fiercely competitive market? And what might that mean for IT service delivery teams?

 

 

Repeatability

lego.jpgSupply chain experts will tell you that repeatability is extremely important. How would you feel about your favorite online store if they only delivered 8 times out of 10? Or if certain items in the catalog arrived on time and without fuss, while others were always delayed and often resulted in a trip to your local depot? In these days of unprecedented choice, you’d be almost certain to use an alternative next time – regardless of how easy it was to make the order.

 

Repeatability matters. This is as true for IT service delivery as it is for ordering goods online, which is why ‘repeatable’ is a basic measure of IT process maturity. It’s also true that corporate IT consumers now have a great deal of choice – so keeping them loyal and using the services you provide is an increasingly serious business.

 

Before embarking on a major consumerization project, you need to ensure that the processes underpinning the delivery of the services you intend to provide are well defined, enforced and robust. They don’t need to be complex or elaborate (see the next section for more) but they do need to work efficiently, every time.

 

Take a close look at the performance of your core service desk processes, together with change and service request management if you have them. Are you hitting your SLAs reliably enough that you’d be comfortable promoting these services even more widely? Are you even measuring your SLA performance effectively?

 

 

Simplicity


Another hallmark of great logistics is simplicity. If you think about the list of attributes defining a great logistics approach on this blog: i.e. repeatability, scalability, transparency and timeliness – they are all maximized by taking the simplest approach possible.

 

Removing complexity and duplication in process steps, and looking very carefully at the handoff between teams, will be time well spent. Enough said.

 

Scalability


“We built it - they showed up - we weren’t ready” is not a great epitaph for an IT consumerization project. It’s also been the downfall of many Conveyer_Belt_Small.JPG.jpgsupply chain projects, so look out…

 

One thing you can guarantee if you make your IT services more accessible and easier to use, is more customers. More customers, asking for more things, across a broader range of technologies for more of the time. Are you ready? Will your fulfillment processes and accompanying systems cope? Are you staffed at the right levels at the right times?

 

This is why it’s a good idea to introduce your new services to select groups on a trial basis. By taking this approach, you’ll learn about service uptake and patterns of utilization. That will give you a much better feel for the level and kinds of resource you’ll need to keep your service delivery on track.

 

 

Transparency (and communication)


“Your package will arrive between 10-30am and 10-45am, the driver’s name is Holly and she can be reached on” etc. It’s amazing just how much we can now see as consumers of logistics services: from interactive maps to increasing accurate delivery estimates, transparency and communication are becoming competitive differentiators for supply chain providers and their clients.

 

Regardless of whether things are going right, or horribly wrong, transparency and effective communication are critical in service delivery.  Effective communication doesn’t just involve communicating clearly and frequently - it also has to be seen by the right people at the right time. So communication channel and method are just as important.

 

Giving clear indications of exactly what you’re doing with business users’ requests, your overall service health and performance - together with any projected service impacts to key customer groups, are good places to start in building a more consumer-like communication model.

 

 

Timeliness

Delivery.jpgTimeliness in logistics has two components: promptness and predictability.  It’s not just outright speed that wins the day in logistics, although it’s clearly very important - it’s also about doing what you said you'd do, when you said you’d do it. Better predictability has been the holy grail for supply chain firms for many years.

 

The fact that many companies have got the accuracy of their projected delivery time to within an hour (and in many cases less) is no accident. It’s the result of a concerted effort in: optimized process design, the effective use of technology and improved communications.

 

Consumers of modern logistics no longer have to plan their lives to fit around a loose, unpredictable service delivery window. Again, in the age of choice, poor timing in service delivery means you won’t be around for very long.

 

For IT teams, this means prompt but achievable business SLAs that are agreed, measured and enforced. SLAs should also be used in concert with the enhanced communications as we outlined above. Having a comprehensive (but not extensive) set of SLAs and supporting system will take on renewed significance as you embark on your consumerization journey.

 

 

Join me next time as we look a little more closely as we explore more lessons from the giants of consumer service!

 

Until then, Cheers!

 

Chris