It’s the User Experience as much as the Technology!
Thanks to Tim Duckett (on his adoption curve blog) for this one: Everything that is wrong and broken with corporate IT, summed up in a single, sad sentence:
“I have nothing against iPhone. It’s great,” says Manjit Singh, CIO at Chiquita Brands International Inc. “But we’re a BlackBerry shop, and I don’t think iPhone brings anything new to the table. It has a great user experience, but that’s all.”
From Computerworld: iPhones trickle in the enterprise (emphasis mine).
It really does explain much of the error in corporate IT these days. Web 2.0 consumer services know this, and the next generation of users coming into business expect this: It is all about the user experience. I have used and deployed some awful tools in the past. I will never do so again. They can near bankrupt productivity, be it an information tool for getting things done or an expenses or payroll system.
Let’s say you have 100 employees. If a tool saves a member of the IT department an hour a week, but costs each member of staff just 60 seconds a week, you have lost productivity – and wasted time and money. What if you have 1,000 employees? Think about it.
If you spend a hour downloading, setting up and learning to use a new task management or GTD tool and it saves you a minute a week, it is going to take over a year to get a payback on it. I’m being kind here and assuming the tool stays the same for a year. How many times have you changed your personal productivity system in the last year, or spent time fiddling with new software?
I’m not saying avoid new technology, quite the opposite. If businesses are going to be productive and effective, then they must innovate with the Information technology they use, but it should be from the perspective of delivering productivity not technology. I see a new generation of workers who will bring change, and an older generation who are demanding it. There will be no mercy for IT departments or businesses that get in the way. Technology is meant to improve productivity, not get in the way of it.
This so sums up my daily experience. The hours, days and _weeks_ I waste attempting to confrom to some corporate requirement.
Remote access systems that appear designed to make remote access as difficult as possible. I spent 10 hours this week attempting to resolve a software problem. That’s one day’s work ot of the window. Not to mention the hours before ad after bitching about it.
“Helldesks” whose main appears to prevent you reporting a problem. In trying to report the problem above the advice from one advisor was that I should swap the ends of the ethernet cable in case that was causing the problem.
Excuse me? his wasn’t te first instance of the problem I had come across and I had so far, tried a reset option, stripped out and reinstalled the problem software. Twice. Stopped the router, re-booted the PC.
And I’m not a techie. I’ve just done it so often I can do it in my sleep. Stop insulting my intellgence.
And don’t get me started on corporate hoop-jumping that a) appears to be deisgned just for the hell of it and b) appears NOT to have been designed with the users in mind. Oracle systems that insist in refreshing the screen each time you enter a field. Do you know how irritating that is on a screen with 30 fields? Organisational systems that crash when everyone has to use them at end of year. Resilience? Yeah, right. Organisational systems that stop when one person does a search.
I could go and and do on a reguar basis.
You’ve tapped a raw nerve. And the biggest raw nerve of all? This isn’t new. We knew about this 20, 30 years ago guys. User requirements aren’t a dirty word they’re just that. A REQUIREMENT
I wonder if it is a passion thing? My dad got me a computer when I was about 8 or so. I’ve loved the things ever since – I was captivated by what they could do.
When I was an IT manager, I had the same passion, as did the people I hired. We wanted to do ‘good stuff’. For many IT has become just a job – I even met an IT guy the other day who doesn’t have a computer at home. What’s that all about?
It goes beyond traditional ‘requirements’, give people what they NEED to get the job done, not just what they appear to WANT. Aiming above the target to hit it.
What can best be changed?
I agree wholeheartedly that the user experience is key.
However, I think the point about losing a minute per employee should be considered “all other things being equal”. Not all minutes are equal. If a tool is wonderful to use but it takes off a minute a day, I’d let it stay. Also, in this age of Internet news, blogs and tons of email, a minute here or there is not a big deal. Maybe the tool lets you use the other 479 minutes better.
Hi Richard. I think I know what you are saying, but the point I’m making is one of those “look at both ends of the stick” moments.
I often see huge amounts of effort go into streamlining the back end reporting interface, that 5 people use, and almost no effort into the front end that 5,000 people use. Even if the 5,000 people earn a 1/10 of what the backend staff do, this is still a massive misinvestment of effort.
Yes, not all minutes are equal, but there is a big difference between people choosing to waste time and people having their time wasted by a poorly designed system. Very different problems to fix, and very different impacts on morale.
GTD tool that takes only a few minutes to pick up – http://www.statuswiz.com
Whizzy… There are a surprising number of web-based GTD apps now. Having quickly look, I’m driven to comment that if a personal to do list needs a search facility, you probably want to take a good hard look at how it is being managed (I’ve been there once).
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