6 Ways To Consumerize IT Without Dumbing Down - InformationWeek

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6 Ways To Consumerize IT Without Dumbing Down
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TerryB
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TerryB,
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9/23/2014 | 1:23:12 PM
Strive being the key word
If Chatter and Yammer are most successful because they STRIVE to increase productivity, this social stuff has a long way to go.

I'd like to see a study where someone even proves they get ROI on subscriptions for Yammer. This is a leap of faith, not a proven thing. My cousin works for Microsoft and they use Yammer. I've never heard him say it changed anything for him.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/23/2014 | 2:42:41 PM
Workflow
"...the best software prioritizes employee workflows over raw specs." So true, yet how many of you feel that even a few of your enterprise apps truly respect your everyday workflow?
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/23/2014 | 3:19:03 PM
Re: Strive being the key word
You're right, social networking platforms like Yammer and Chatter are difficult to quantify on an ROI scale. But I've seen them improve team rapport and communication, and speed up workflows. When people communicate better they tend to be happier at work and more productive. "Leap of faith" is a good way to describe integrating Yammer. You go in knowing it'll probably improve worker communication/collaboration, and the natural progression is that measurable productivity gains will follow. But there are no guarantees.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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9/23/2014 | 3:42:24 PM
Re: Strive being the key word
#2 is one of the most powerful areas IT can thrive -- bringing consumer-grade experiences to business tools. It's about effective UX, but most of that comes from really knowing what end users want and need to do. An action that takes 1-click versus 3-clicks makes a big difference in people's work day.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2014 | 4:09:46 PM
Re: Strive being the key word
I guess I see workflow as crossing over into what ERP/business systems do. I program that all the time. So I never looked at Yammer as a better way to do workflow, versus what I could build with existing tools.

I see Yammer as a tool for really big companies to find people who have expertise in an area you have a question. I don't really call that workflow, just an efficient Yellow Pages. That's really all I considered it capable of.

To me, workflow is when you put in PO that needs approval. That approval should be routed to appropriate supervisors screen/email to approve/deny. Yammer doesn't enter PO's, so how can it do workflow of them?

That's the concept I'm struggling with in tools like this.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2014 | 7:46:26 AM
Re: Strive being the key word
A well thought out UI is incredibly powerful. I have to say it might not be the most powerful for each project but I've seen quite a few applications out there written in house that obviously had no input from the end users.  The very logical placing of functions into boxes the way IT would do things often has nothing to do with workflow processes or how the people doing the job actually use the tools.  One thing that I'm happy to see is more enterprise applications with simpler UIs similar to those we see on consumer applications.  Most people only work at a couple levels of complexity on anything, shoving every tool you have at them won't make them use it so giving them the top level up front and a way to access deeper levels of functionality usually gives you a better  response from your users.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
9/24/2014 | 9:32:56 AM
Re: Strive being the key word
I really like your emphasis on workflow TerryB -- that's the hard stuff, the stuff that takes really understanding what employees or customers want to do. Stressing UI can give the wrong idea that it's all a design/appearance challenge, but the challenge is really understanding that deep, complete experience.  
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 12:26:47 AM
Security and interface
Any kind of cloud consumerism can be addressed using the term "security" and "interface" which are important to the cloud's and hence the company's survival. Having a good security structure alone means half the war has been won in an age where malicious users (hackers) are lurking everywhere. Good security=Good reputation=Good business. Security alone can make or break a company (when it comes to IT companies).
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 12:34:51 AM
Re: Strive being the key word
I think UI's should be targeted according to market use. If a particular type of market likes to use UIs with developer perks then UIs launched should be of that type. Other than that they will be given the basic construct of the UI and then they can upgrade as and when they like.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 1:13:04 AM
Re: 6 Ways To Consumerize IT Without Dumbing Down
This is all very well-taken, Himanshu. "Conzumarization" is no longer really an optional idea, and in fact, you could even say it's not a trend anymore - it's just the way we do business. Maybe some niche organizations (I'm thinking gov't contractors with security needs, etc.) can afford to say 'we have a way of doing things that we're not going to change'.  Everybody else can't afford to. BYOD is the main culprit, but you're right to point out that the real issue is the conceps that are at work there, and the bleed down to all levels of work at the company.

I hear what you're saying on the social media/social apps front though, TerryB. Some people just don't want to use tools like that, and that's fine. To me, that's exactly what 'workflow' means - the way people do their jobs on a day to day basis. If apps like that aren't part of your day-to-day use, then they're not part of your 'workflow' (and there is a good point in not forcing it). Still, Chris's example is perfect - how many programs do you know where a feature you never use is right up in the front, and a feature you use every day is hidden away. That's what 'bad workflow' means to me.
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