Sadly I am old enough to remember when you would walk into your average corporate and be wowed by the latest technology.
When today’s Net Generation graduates walk into your firm they will probably find that they have more computing power in their home PC than the one on their desk. In some cases they may even have more computing power in their pocket!
For the last decade IT departments have been driven by lowering costs, reducing risk and delivering a “good enough” experience. But as Jason writes, today’s graduates are not about to accept this.
Some of today’s smartest graduates are choosing to forgo corporate careers for entrepreneurial endeavours. And who can blame them. With just a laptop, an internet connection, and free or low cost consumer-focussed software from the web, sole traders and small businesses can appear much larger than they are, and effectively compete with the big players all at much lower cost.
How can Corporate IT Compete?
First realise that IT is no longer just about cost reduction and lower risk, but also customer service and staff retention.
Look at delivering value to the business across a wider range of metrics: increased revenues, increased customer satisfaction and increased profit per customer. Look at how your IT systems can help the business in terms of new talent recruitment and retention.
What you can do:
- Enable staff to work flexibly, from home, from the coffee shop, and yes, even the office. Remove the need for employees to be physically at their desk during office hours.
- Provide tools that make it easy to find expertise and knowledge – tools that mimic the consumer tools they are used to: blogs, wikis and personal sites not dissimilar to LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Provide tools that enable staff to connect in real time, from any location via audio, video and IM.
- Deliver on-demand self-paced training materials through short snippets such as podcasts that can be easily integrated into hectic lives. Enable staff to upload their own best practices and ideas and use social computing techniques to enable the best content to bubble-up to the top.
- Provide corporate-class social computing tools to enable Net Gen recruits to express themselves in a way that is natural to them.
- Enable staff to stay connected, wherever they may be from the device of their choice. Let staff select their own IT equipment and use virtualization technology to stay in control of corporate assets and security.
- Provide platforms for staff and customers to communicate and meet customer expectations for rich online experiences that help create a sense of community.
This post is part of a weekly/bi-weekly roundup of things that I read and found interesting. There won’t be a lot of comment from me, but hopefully you will find the links useful. Enjoy!
Interesting stuff I came across this week:
Who will invest in Law Firms; Not Private Equity it Seems – Law firm partners needn’t think about a golden goodbye just yet. According to Richard Susskind, private equity don’t want the hassle of managing law firms based around the billable hour, so instead their money is headed towards legal process outsourcers and fixed-fee lawyer boutiques.
The Collapse of Complex Business Models – Clay Shirky on what happens when business models stop adding client value and just add cost. Be sure to read the ATT anecdote about a third of the way through. The ATT approach precisely reflects what I am hearing from one law firm after another that tell me they don’t want to do commodity, process driven work. Shirky concludes “When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things… it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future”
Microsoft have confirmed that the launch date for SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 will be 12 May 2010. This is the date that business customers will be able to buy the product, with consumers getting to buy the product around a month later.
I have been running the Office 2010 Beta for around a six months now, and I have to say it is without doubt the most stable Beta I have ever used. I don’t think I can recall a crash that was due to a fault in Office itself, and that probably makes this Beta more stable than the likes of Office 2000 and Office XP that many folk are still using.
This launch also marks a significant, and potentially high-risk, change of strategy for Microsoft, seeing them tackle the threat of free alternatives with their own free editions and fully embrace cloud computing:
- Free, browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be available to anyone with a hotmail account. These will be called the Office Web Apps. These web apps will also be available to businesses to run internally as an extension of SharePoint 2010.
- A free cut-down version of the Office client suite will be bundled with new PCs as Microsoft Works is discontinued. This will be called Microsoft Office Starter 2010.
- SharePoint 2010 embraces multi-tenancy enabling it to be used much more cost efficiently as a cloud-hosted collaboration platform.
- The addition of SharePoint Workspace – a client application enabling you to take SharePoint sites offline and continue working when out of the office and disconnected from the web.