Why Computing Innovation is Slower at Work than at Home


On their home PC’s people are experimenting with a variety of technologies and techniques long before they are supported in the workplace. Many people at home have replaced their laptops with I-Pads, to the extent where they even can run Windows on their I-Pads. Workers who type more tend to prefer the laptops, but the visually oriented, particularly executives, have moved on from notebooks to the tablet paradigm. Use of alternative devices by employees and having them supported by IT in the workplace is a fairly new idea, and the pace of acceptance of change moves slowly. Adoption of new operating systems with desirable features for workers will certainly be delayed for years with the new Windows 8 operating system, for instance. They employees that will really want to move to Windows 8 use multiple devices for computing, and they will want to take advantage of the synchronization features that help them keep the same files in the same locations on all of their machines.

Some at home have already discovered a variety of cloud services, from I-Tunes, to Amazon to Carbonite. Home users find them convenient and inexpensive, particularly for maintaining backups and storing media files like movies and music. Cloud tools for the business like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs are ready for the business world, but most IT departments at work have not considered the savings, efficiency, or speed available in the Cloud. They cling to their servers and the aging applications that run on them. Do not blame the IT departments or think that they are not excited about the latest technology. The reason that IT departments are slow to adopt is that a well-run IT department has the most well-defined set of rules of any department in an organization. These rules all fall under one or often all of the following five cornerstones of corporate IT departments:

  1. Maintain Projects On-Time and Under or on-Budget.

  2. Ensure Maximum Up-time.

  3. Maintain a Positive Relationship with Almost All Employees.

  4. Ensure Strict Conformity to Organization Policy

  5. Follow Executive Directives to the Spirit of the Message not Just the Letter.

A Client Experience with the Cloud

One of our clients, attorney Jennifer Drossman, has found unanticipated help by moving to the Cloud. She was at a meeting far from her office, and she needed additional documents from her server. Because she had Microsoft Office 365 with Cloud Faxing, she located the documents she needed right on her I-Phone, changed them to suit the date and situation by editing on her phone, and finally she printed the documents at the meeting by faxing them from her I-Phone to the fax at her location.

What Drives IT Department Decisions

Because IT departments have best practices that are standardized for almost every eventuality, supporting a new Windows operating system requires much research and testing. An outsider to the world of IT may think that there are impartial, scientific, and fact based test results published for new operating systems. The truth is that everything written about new software is more in the form of an overview, and never detailed enough to replace the testing your IT department must do with a new version of Windows. The department must also be very aware of how sensitive most users are to change. A few employees will want a new operating system version, but most will feel that learning new ways of doing things will cost them existing functionality and that the learning process will distract them from and delay their work. If an IT department were to suggest moving to the cloud, it is likely that the manager suggesting the move would have her or his job on the line, now dependent on the perceived outcome of the move to the Cloud. Because change will inevitably serve to disrupt organizations in the short-term, an IT department usually waits for the directives for change to come from the collected executives they answer to. In very small businesses and professional offices, there is no IT department, and Office 365 is an amazing opportunity for achieving better and more efficient work and collaboration for offices with two or more people. Interestingly enough, the Cloud also offers a product for IT staff to maintain, monitor, and repair all non-hardware related issues remotely and with excellent automation and monitoring tools called Windows Intune. It helps maintain licensing compliance, includes the latest edition of Windows with licenses. Windows Updates can be decided upon and rolled out or not installed across the company from a dashboard. Remote assistance allows IT staff and consultants to take over your computer and fix issues more quickly than if they had to visit.

The rewards are compelling, and we are seeing so many organizations of all sizes benefit from moving to the Cloud. We hope that home use of Cloud technology by executives and professionals with an office will demand access from their IT consultants or employees today. Enjoy the benefits of the Information Age by having everything at your fingertips and you will always make the best decisions.

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