Do your executives really want Android?

Android has a keen following in enterprise IT circles because of its openness and customisability. But before you embark on an Android deployment ask yourself, is Android usable enough to build engagement amongst your workforce?

Many IT departments prefer Android over iOS because if its openness and customisability. Although this makes IT’s job of managing and supporting devices easier it is actually not something that the end user generally cares about. There is a genuine risk that if IT doesn’t take the end users needs into consideration, they may end up implementing a safe, secure system that people struggle to use effectively.

I find that most executive teams ultimately care about usefulness and usability. They want a suite of apps that helps them do their job more effectively and that are easy to learn and use. Although these tools should also be safe and secure, this is not their primary concern.

It should be pointed out that this isn’t so much about the Android platform as it is about the apps. Although there are plenty of Android apps in the Google Play store there is still only a limited range of tablet optimised apps and many of these are either buggy or have limited features compared to their iOS alternatives.

Although this will close over time I don’t see it happening soon. I have contacted a couple of app developers to see if they were planning to release or update their Android apps and both said they were focusing on the iOS platform at the moment and didn’t see the value in dedicating resources to Android development at the moment. Their reasoning for this was that the Android user base was less willing to pay for apps and the cost of development was higher due to the variety of hardware and screen sizes.

So if you are looking to implement a mobile technology program my advice to organisations is not to rush towards Android without taking into account end user needs. Although it may cost less in terms of hardware and support than an iOS or, even better, a cross platform solution, you may ultimately pay for this in lower levels of engagement and use.

Remember, the value of a system is not what it costs you. Cost is how much you pay for it, value is what it returns to the organisation in terms of greater productivity and effectiveness. And value is only created once the platform is both used and useful.

Mobial launches new ‘Leaders with Technology’ program

Mobial is proud to launch its new flagship program Leaders with Technology. The one day program is aimed at senior executive teams that want to both harness the benefits of mobile technology and reduce the negative impacts, especially in regard to leadership traits.

Many leaders are concerned about the distractions posed by technology and the negative impact that it has on work-life balance, time for reflection and other aspects of leadership. Given that the use of mobile technology is set to boom in business it is more important than ever to give leaders the skills to use their technology in an effective way.

With Simon’s extensive knowledge of mobile technology and post graduate training in business management and leadership, Mobial is uniquely positioned to help leaders manage technology. To find out more about this program please contact us.

The ghost of technology past

One of the most common challenges  I come across when trying to get people to engage with mobile technology is their ‘ghosts of technology past’. Ghosts of technology past includes our memories of losing important documents and not having backups, dial up internet and ‘The blue screen of death’.

Thanks to Moore’s Law (which predicts technology doubles in performance every 12-18 months) technology has come along since those dark days. Modern technology is both easier to learn and provides greater productivity benefits than ever before. But for many users, their ghosts have led them to disengage and they aren’t aware how much technology has changed.

I once read a tweet that said ‘is it time that we came up with a new name for technology?’. I find this a tempting thought, the ability to wipe the slate clean and start again. But appealing as this might be it wont make disengaged appreciate how far we have come, and how quickly it has happened. This is why I always try and start my engagements within an organisation by training key decision makers one-on-one so that they can truly appreciate what this new breed of technology can do.

I think that the current wave of technology development is extraordinary. It is allowing us to automate our most menial tasks and share information and collaborate on a previously unimaginable scale. Perhaps it is time for us to let go of our ghosts of technology past and embrace the opportunities of the technology future.

Tablets in business are inevitable: Only training and support will keep information safe

The other day I presented to the Knowledge Management Roundtable Victoria whose members includes  knowledge managers from across the public and private sector. The presentation was on the inevitability of mobile technology such as iPads and tablets in workplace and the opportunity that they offer in supporting ‘personal knowledge management’.

From the discussion it was clear that many organisations have been holding off on implementing a tablet strategy until there is a suitable enterprise grade solution that will let them control the information on the device. Although I understand why organisations are taking this approach I think it might be a risky strategy and based on some unsound assumptions.

The first assumption is that people need IT to deliver a ‘personal knowledge management’ solution and that they are willing to wait until IT is ready to deliver it. The second assumption is that unless organisations have an enterprise level of control over tablet devices information will be less unsecured

Reality Check 1: People don’t need IT to deliver personal knowledge management solutions

There are already countless consumer grade solutions that are allowing people to use their iPads to be more effective in business. Individuals who are willing to supply their own device no longer need an IT department to deliver a solution you can visit the App Store and set this up for less that $50. Unless your mobile policy is so strict that people are not allowed to bring devices onto the premises then there is a good chance that this is already happening.

Reality Check 2: Organisational information is already unsecured, you just don’t have any visibility over it

The majority of the information that people capture on their tablets would normally be captured on paper. This means there is actually a massive opportunity to increase information security, even without an enterprise solution.

In general employees do not set out to steal or maliciously share information (and if this is there intent Wikileaks has shown that even the US army can’t stop this happening). Most often information leakage (such as people emailing documents to their personal email accounts) is a result of a lack of understanding or training. What’s more, for most individuals the desire to be more effective in their work will override any small concerns they have about information security (because they get rewarded for being more effective).

I believe that the way forward has to be for organisations to accept the inevitability of people using tablets in the workplace and take a proactive approach to making the people more effective, and in doing so keeping information safer. If organisations don’t take a proactive approach, you can guarantee that people will take it upon themselves to deliver their own personal knowledge management solution.

The infographic below helps illustrate the inevitability of people using tablets in business