Is digital transformation in danger of crushing your I.T. team?

Many I.T. departments are under impossible pressure. With ever more demanding needs and years of legacy and new tech, I.T. teams are looking for ways to keep up.

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When you think about digital transformation you would expect I.T. to be leading the charge but the truth is some I.T. teams are struggling to keep up with the digital revolution as much as anybody else.

The I.T. legacy

In the early days, I.T.’s job was more straightforward. It was to provide desktop P.C.s to staff that needed them. But in time unsuspecting employees started downloading viruses and I.T. departments felt they needed to respond by removing staff’s ability to install software to protect the company.

As I.T. progressed there was greater need for corporate systems. Systems that allowed business functions to start talking with one another. This lead to the rise of the enterprise system. Although these systems got the job done they were sometimes hard to use and required a lot of training.

I.T. departments have been forced to locked down networks so heavily that it is hard for people to do their jobs.
I.T. departments have been forced to lock down networks so heavily that it is hard for people to do their jobs.

With the rise of social media tools, and software as a service, I.T. faced new threats. Employees ‘wasted’ time on Facebook. They signed up for services that presented security and compliance risks.

Management encouraged I.T. to lock down employee access still further and block access to these sites from corporate networks.

But complex systems and limited digital tools create a problem for tomorrow’s employees.

Changing employee expectations and needs

We are seeing a new generation entering the job market that has grown up with technology. They have integrated technology into their lives and they use a wide range of digital services every day.

These are people who expect to be able to use the same quality tools they have at home in the work environment.

  • They want to use a Mac rather than a PC, because that is what they have at home.
  • They expect to work with quality mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad.
  • They want access to the apps they are familiar with both on their devices, but also online.
  • They expect the enterprise systems they use at work to be as high a quality as the ones they use in their personal lives.

In short they expect a lot from a modern I.T. department. Of course these people could be viewed as demanding and if they want to work at your company they need to suck it up and use the tools you give them. But that thinking would be a mistake.

Not only is that going to make it hard to recruit, it presents a deeper problem.

The ultimate aim of digital transformation is to make digital technology ubiquitous. Every employee will be using it without even thinking, in a similar way to how electricity has become an invisible part of our daily lives.

Consumers are becoming ever more demanding. The next generation of employees are going to need the best digital tools if they are to meet those demands.

All this means that I.T. departments need to adapt. To support the changing tech and employee base, they need to be able to deliver the tools employees want quickly. That is a lot to ask in an environment where they are often already overworked.

Give employees what they need, fast

Although the new generation of employees are a lot more tech savvy than their predecessors, they are not perfect. They might still install malware and applications they shouldn’t be using at work and I.T. teams will still need to protect their users.

But I.T. staff aren’t going to be able to support colleagues in exactly the same way they have done in the past. This is especially true in smaller companies where their I.T. function is limited.

Instead they are going to have to look for tools to help I.T. do things in a more simplified way.

For example, I still come across many companies who prevent their employees using Macs or iOS devices. This is because I.T. has been too overstretched to support yet more platforms. The problem is people should be able to use the tools that they are most comfortable with. That will improve their productivity.

Fortunately today you don’t need to be an I.T. expert to manage colleagues devices. Take for example Bushel. With Bushel, anybody can configure settings on all employee devices quickly and consistently over the air. Bushel allows you to deploy apps over the air and reassign licenses as your workforce changes.

Bushel is a great example of how I.T. can delegate the management of devices to other colleagues, while maintaining control.
Bushel is a great example of how I.T. can delegate the management of devices to other colleagues, while maintaining control.

You can ensure sensitive company information remains secure. You can enforce passcodes and encryption over the air and even remotely lock or wipe a device.

In my opinion this offers the best of both worlds. It offers employees exactly what they need, but allows I.T. to maintain some level of control. But that is not the only thing I find interesting about Bushel.

Focus on the experience not the technology

Do you remember those enterprise systems I mentioned earlier? They are often powerful, but it comes at a cost. Almost all the enterprise systems I have encountered have user interfaces that have not kept up with the power that the tools provide.

But things are changing. Check out the user interface of Bushel. They have taken the time to design it around the experience first and the technology second. It is intuitive and easy to use.

That is where we need to be with enterprise systems. Especially as they are being used by increasingly non-technical staff. We need to prototype the experience we want users to have and then build or buy a technology that supports that. We shouldn’t just go to the marketplace, find something that meets our checklist of features and then install it out of the box. This only results in frustrated and unproductive staff.

The future of I.T.

I.T. needs to continue to find creative solutions to support and protect all types of users and their preferences without adding more in-depth technical tools to manage.

Bushel is one of those simplified tools to help empower end users based on their device preferences all while keeping the organization secure.

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  • Great Post Paul,

    Making technology second nature, super-intuitive and having it so that it solves real work problems for the Employees is super important. Especially the last part… it needs to greatly improve the efficiency and quality of work in my opinion to be an effective business tool.

    Too often technology that is for work is not intuitive and technology that is intuitive, is not for work.

    Building Intuitive Forms