By Peter Titmus, Chairman
I often feel when reading articles about BYOD, Smartphones and Tablets and when talking to IT management about the topic that mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and the Samsung Galaxy are thought of as though they are just lightweight laptops and as such the concentration is on securing them like a laptop and providing content to them like a laptop. But is this best way of harnessing the potential of these devices in the workplace????
The BMW Central Building in Leipzig was designed by Zaha Hadid. Not only was it a revolutionary design it also brought in a new environment for the employees. The design deliberately weaves the production of cars into and throughout the building so that production is an integral part of working at the building.
In the vast majority of factories there is a clear split between production and the other parts of the business which alienates a large proportion of the staff and visitors from what is the core of the company. In BMW’s case this is designing and manufacturing prestige cars.
The BMW Leipzig building is designed to involve employees with production and more importantly let them sense the pulse of the company.
An office worker while seated at their desk can see through glass walls and view cars passing along a line which means they can see for themselves when the facility is working at full production or not and therefore they can relate this to the performance of the company. Visitors to the building car see the efficiency and care applied to the creation of a BMW car.
Tablets and smartphones are highly involving tactile devices that allow the user to interact with information in a very different way to the sterile PC interface.
Rather than just giving access to documents spread sheets and databases why can’t companies embrace the concept behind the BMW building by bringing the company to the employee via their own mobile device allowing them to sense the pulse of the company through the tablet’s inspirational interface by providing interactive information about the company in a more creative way?
For example if you work in a hospital knowing the number of beds in use or the number patients treated today, this week, this year may help you comprehend the scale of the organisation in which you work. If you are a council worker knowing about the council services scale in human terms such as bins emptied today, council house issues today, enquires handled today. And if you work for a manufacturer the number of units made today or yesterday or this year and to where or whom they were sold may help you feel engaged. The important thing is interaction, speed and how current the information is and this can be provided as an experience on the new mobile platforms.
It’s too easy to just think productivity can be increased by giving more data to employees. A forward looking BYOD strategy can take this further by encouraging employees to tell the company what on demand information they would find interesting and informative, and to consider how they can present this information to employees – all harnessing the potential of the devices many of their employees are bringing into the workplace and ultimately ensuring they are motivated and can participate better in the evolution of the business.