A Screw?s Loose is one of the more interesting technical blogs out there. Katz, a Director of Mobility Engineering at Sanofi and a widely recognized thought leader in enterprise mobility, wrote a great post recently on the a continuing gap between what users want and what IT delivers ? and noted that the cause of that gap is the way IT views the users.
In the post, Katz writes that IT shouldn?t view employees as IT users, but as IT customers. Changing the definition makes a big difference in how products and services are developed, rolled out, and supported. ?Whenever people talk about creating apps the conversation turns to delighting the customer. Companies build apps that will delight people. They will have a great user interface (UI) and an even better user experience (UX). They will enable people to do what they want/need to do. We learn from day one when you walk into a company it?s all about pleasing the customer. That?s why we build consumer apps the way that we do,? Katz wrote.
?Then when we have time, we build apps for our employees. You know, the ones we call users. We give them mobile devices or expect them to use their own. We take apps that exist on the desktop and port them to mobile devices. If we have time we may even try and make the apps look good. Yet businesses have no idea why their employees aren?t using those apps.?
At Breezy, we couldn?t agree more. It?s not that users want to use their own time to search for apps or solutions that aren?t supported or provided by the IT department. But when employees believe that IT isn?t providing a solution that is critical to their job, or if their productivity is being negatively affected, they get frustrated and use personal apps to solve their problem.
Such ?shadow IT? can interfere with the investment and hard work put in by IT and security teams. Fortunately, there?s a simple and practical way for IT managers to improve the delivery of mobile apps and services: what Brian Katz calls the ?FUN principle?.
The FUN Principle: Focus on User Needs
When companies create products or services they plan to sell, they usually take care to focus on customer needs. Unfortunately, as Katz points out, too often the IT group within a company doesn?t think of employees as customers, obsessing about considerations like development time and cost to the exclusion of user needs and wants.
The FUN Principle ? a Focus on User Needs ? changes how IT thinks about the apps and services they deploy. When you Focus on Users? Needs, you?ll be more likely build and deploy apps that are designed for the devices they actually use, making it more likely that you?ll actually help them get their jobs done.
Particularly in BYOD contexts, it the FUN principle is an imperative. Focus on Users? Needs, just as if they were the customers who purchase your company?s products and services, because that?s exactly what they are: the customers for the IT services your group provides.
If IT takes the time to ask employees what they want and need, and takes that feedback into account when developing mobile strategy, employees will generally be happy to use company-provided apps and follow company security policies.
On the other hand, if IT tries to shoehorn employees into using a badly designed processes ? or worse yet, abandons them entirely by refusing to provide any solution to a particular business need ? then most users will be perfectly willing to use consumer apps downloaded from a public app store, whether or not those apps are secure.
Secure mobile printing, with on-device encryption, is a good example. Employees who need to print something will do whatever it takes to get that job done ? and if that means sending files to an unsecured cloud storage site or personal email address, downloading an unsecured consumer app that provides printing, or saving files to an unsecured machine in order to connect to a printer, that?s what they?ll do. And that puts company data at risk of a man-in-the-middle attack.
But if IT offers a solution like Breezy, which delivers pixel-perfect printing, for a wide range of file types, and works with any mobile device and any printer, employees will use it. And since Breezy encrypts all print jobs and integrates with the top enterprise mobility management solutions, the company gets assured security it needs, too. while employees
Employees get a simplified process, while corporate data stays secure: it?s one more way that paying attention to the FUN principle can be a win-win for everyone, both in IT and across the organization.
Note: In allowing Breezy to quote from his blog, Brian Katz is in no way endorsing Breezy or its products.Photo credit: This photo of the delighted iPad user is by photographer Dimitri Kalogeropolyos.
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