The Enterprise Mobility Revolution
with James Robertson
James Robertson: Hello. It's lovely to be here. So yes, I have flown some way to get here, but hey, that's what happens when you live, well, a long way from anywhere whatsoever. We're used to that kind of thing.
I would love this to be a lovely, chatty, informal sort of session, so I would absolutely encourage you to put up your hand at any point and interrupt me in the flow and ask some questions, and we'll have a good dialog.
Certainly, my takeaway from the last session run by Rachel is that this is a really exciting space that is evolving rapidly, is moving so fast that we, together, have to explore what are the answers. And so that's where I want to have a dialog, within the limits of the fact that I've got sun in my eyes and you're a long way back there, but wave your hand and I'll make sure I can spot you.
So, OK. Let's talk about enterprise mobility. And I guess I want to start off with where I started with all of this. So, hands up, all those who know, actually, what this thing is. Oh. Anyone want to shout it out?
Newton! Yeah, look, this is cool. This was the original cool Apple device, right? This is geek cred. I programmed for these 15 years ago, and this has been a revolution a long time coming. So, back when I did this, back, like Jared, when I used to be a proper geek, not a geek who stands up and talks about strategy, this was the device that was going to change how we worked, both as individuals and within organizations. And clearly, it didn't. Which is sad, because it was really kind of cool? Really weird, but really kind of cool.
So, in the time since then, as flag my, I guess, abnormal passion has been Intranet. So, this is the environment within organizations, this is the solutions that we give to staff rather than customers. And I think this is the undiscovered territory.
There's an awful lot written about how do we deliver great websites and how do we deliver great customer experience. And that's good. But that stuff's easy.
Well, not that easy, but certainly a lot easier than stuff within the organization. So, if you want to know what a great website looks like, then, well, you go off and you look at a pile of things you think is good. You want to know what best practices are, then, again, look at a bunch of sites and discern whatever patterns you want from that.
You need to get support from the executive, well, then, you show them the sites from the firms that they are most jealous of, or compete most strongly with, and say, "Look how cool theirs are and how terrible ours are. And we should do better," right? Now, this is all easy.
Within the organization, behind the firewall, well, by definition, all of this is hidden. What does a great Intranet look like? What does a great experience for staff look like? What are the opportunities? What is best practice? Well, it's very difficult to discern any of that.
And that, I think, has led to an awful lot of reinventing of the wheel. It's led to an awful lot of people heading down blind alleys that have already been walked down 100 times. But it also means that the environment within the enterprise has lagged hugely behind the consumer space. The solutions we give to staff -- well, I'm going to talk about this -- are not great. But this is where our opportunity lies to deliver brilliant stuff. And that's what we're really going to explore today is how do we transform the way organizations work.
Now, how did I get into this space at the moment, from the Intranet world? I guess it came from the Intranet Innovation Awards, which we've run for years. This is now in their sixth year. And this uncovered, for the first time last year, some brilliant mobile enterprise examples.
Again, this has been a long time coming. Three years ago, we said, "Hey, look, mobiles. They're a happening thing. We're expecting to see brilliant stuff." And we got nothing. So two years ago, we said, "Look, maybe we were ahead of the curve last year, but we've all been at it for a whole extra year." So this time, we got nothing. Thank God, last year, finally some people are starting to do stuff. And that's some of the stuff that I want to share with you, plus a pile of stuff that I've come across since. And yeah, this stuff is moving so fast.
This is, I guess, my fundamental rallying cry is that mobiles are going to utterly change the nature of work. They are going to completely transform organizations. Now, not universally, and some organizations more than others, but I think the pieces are finally here that we can take a lot of stuff that was really pretty crap before and actually make it work properly now. And we're going to explore what that really means in practice.
So, this is my curiosity. So what have you guys got? I'm in the US. This is a long way from home. So this is what I've got. I've got an iPhone. It's only a 4, I'm afraid. Siri is not my special friend. So what have you guys got? Hold up, what phones have you got?
Oh. Yeah, OK. That's a lot of sexy phones, isn't it? I'm not seeing a lot of things with keypads on that. So, yeah.
And these things are amazing. I certainly couldn't live without it. When I travel internationally, which I do three or four times a year, it's like having an arm cut off because of course I don't have data. I just don't. So all those things -- "Well I'll just..." No. "Well, I wonder what the weather..." No. I just can't live without this now.
And I think the UX space has had a lot to do with this. So it's around doing internally some of the most fundamental things that we've done for a long time externally. So it means delivering intranets that maybe look more like this. So this is a lovely page. I'll read out some of the bits for that right at the back. This is a single page called "My Employment." It has "My Role," "My Performance Objectives," "Development and Training," "Career," "Workplace," "Pay," "Benefits," "Relocation and Moving Job."
And then it has a bunch of plain English links in here. So this is "Starting the Organization." This is "Working Hours." This is "Leave Entitlements." This is "Visas and Work Permits." This page should be pretty much taken for granted. So all of you have intranets that are this easy, right-that all bring stuff together into a single page that actually cross business unit lines?
So actually they don't reflect at all the organizational structure. They are designed completely for staff. In the one spot, no acronyms, no jargon -- just task-based navigation instructions. How many people have intranets that are actually like this? Wow. Don't be shy. Oh, there must be one. Wow. OK, well there's someone who's got their hand all inches off the table there for a second. All right. So this is pretty scary.
A lot of our intranets are totally baffling and utterly confusing, and impossible to navigate, and search really sucks. But actually, when you apply user experience techniques, then elegant solutions fall out.
"So is that right -- I just click the link at the bottom?" "Click wherever you like." "Well, I guess I clicked at the link at the bottom." Yes. "Am I missing something?" "What do you mean?" "Well, that seemed so obvious. I just go to this page and look at the thing you want me to find. It's just that link at the bottom." "Yes." "But I'm not missing something?" "No. Well, why do you ask?"
"Well, it's never been this easy before. You seem to have given me a task so easy, it's just completely obvious." "That's...yeah." So an intranet so easy, people are actually surprised to the point of being a little bit baffled by it. Wow. I mean, this is the classic Steve Crew "don't make me think" thing that actually works.
OK. So this is intranets 101. I don't know why I've got no hands for that. But that's OK. Because actually, we can go beyond that. So in terms of making it easier for staff, well, what we can do is things like sexy stuff. This is from IDEO. More than just clunky collaboration tools out of the box, these are rich interactive living spaces that are designed as much for the team as they're working on the project as they are for communicating their insight and intellectual property out into the rest of the organization.
And in the IDEO intranet, content is not king. People are king. People are at the center of everything on this intranet. Everything is connected to everything else, and everything flows back to people. Which gives you a richness of interaction which means this intranet is integral to the way they work as an organization.
Did this happen by chance? Well, no. They applied their world-renowned user experience, user research ethnographic techniques on themselves, and delivered an intranet that fits them hand in glove. That's pretty good.
Then there are things -- I guess their more -- even the fundamentals, so say, online forms. Forms used to be paper back in those old days in filing cabinets or on piles at people's desks or in pigeonholes. But we don't do that anymore in the modern age.
With our intranet, we brought all this together into the one spot. There's now a useful forms page or an HR forms page or whatever it happens to be. And it's great. All the forms in the one spot. I go there. I can easily find the form I want. I click on it. I download it as a PDF. I print it off. I fill it in by hand. I send it across by internal mail where someone types it in. And then they ring me when I've forgotten something. It's brilliant! It's so 21st century!
I mean, "Hey, I've heard you can do online forms with submit buttons and everything. I've seen it on the web. It's pretty cool."
Maybe we can do this kind of stuff internally. Maybe actually we can give tools for staff that don't just allow them to fill this stuff in via a keyboard. The defaults -- their user name and all their details and pre-fills things and it's drop downs.
But maybe actually we can streamline the processes behind the scenes at the same time -- to make this stuff better. Maybe it's not that hard. But again, this has been slow happening.
Where it becomes really exciting and unfortunately, quite unusual, is where the intranet is really transform how people work. So on this intranet, this is a mid-sized government agency in Australia -- that's done some things that I've seen only in a handful of organizations in the world in all my travels.
They have SAP. We love SAP, right? Great. We love it. It's so powerful. It's like your friend in the organization.
So maybe not. Right? I mean, maybe it's incredibly powerful, but horrid to use. Loathsome, complex and confusing to the point of making it almost impossible to complete tasks.
Now if anyone is from SAP here, I'm not picking on you, because I could equally pick on PeopleSoft or Oracle or any of the other enterprise applications. They're all equally bad from a user experience perspective.
Now is the answer to burn them down, excise them, start again from a plain sheet of paper with lovely new modern web based applications? Well, that's not going to happen, but I don't think we should do that anyway. So this is where from a user experience perspective maybe we can make improvements.
This, on the home page of this organization is a box that has the outstanding tasks for managers, brought into the one spot from SAP and 13 other intranet enabled applications into the one box. If I have tasks, there's a list of them and a number of outstanding things against each category. If I don't have tasks, there isn't a box.
This is not horrid portal interface of one little box per application, because that's apparently integration. This is actually tremendously simplifying stuff. This is bringing into the home page of the intranet something that actually makes it much easier for managers to keep track of their day to day tasks, and in a stroke, eliminates a pile of emails.
And this is pretty easy. This is not a million dollar project. These guys have no money. They're a mid-sized government agency. They don't have a pile of resources, but they did have a focus on the experience for staff, and that allowed them to do some really quite revolutionary stuff, although it's obviously pretty self-obvious when I show it.
So that's been the journey so far for intranets.
Any thoughts about that? What have your experiences been around that? Do you love your intranets, or not? Thoughts on that?
OK. I'm going to give you a chance. One at the back. Well trained, waiting for the microphone. Loving that.
Audience Member: Just to start the conversation -- I'm sure everybody else in the room since they didn't raise their hand are the same, but our intranet is simply an access pathway to a underlying application provided by a third party vendor.
James: Yeah. So the idea is that well, yes, the intranet is the one stop shop of links to other things. And that's a really important point, because actually when we start to look at enterprise and mobility and moments away, I'm going to question -- is that good enough? And you're shaking your head, and I'm with you on this one. No, that's not the future we want going forward. And that's what we need to escape from.
Because I think the reality is this. Right? Most business systems suck, and they suck badly. Now we've lived with that, I guess, because well, look. They're not customers who chose to come to us or we have to woo them. They are actually staff who we pay, and, I guess, like hamsters in wheels, we can make them run around, around, around, because we pay them, right?
But maybe actually that's not good enough, both from a perspective of being a great place to work, but also because it allows an immense amount of inefficiency to live on in organizations, which maybe was fine pre a certain financial crash.
But now, life is harder. Organizations have to compete more effectively and be more efficient in what they do. Maybe we need to make business tools work better.
Fundamentally, we need to turn around the situation from the current day where at best, enterprise tools are grudgingly accepted by staff, and at worst, they actively make it harder for staff to do the jobs they're employed to do.
The moment those staff step away from their desks, that becomes exponentially worse. That's what we're going to change, because along came mobiles.
There are two big drivers for this. There's one external, there's one internal. We'll start with the external one, which is the gap between what we have in our personal lives and what we get when we go to work. Now, this has always been pretty high. Back at home, we had our lovely iMacs that get bigger and bigger and sexier and sexier. We've got nice phones, fast Internet, and all of those things. We're on Facebook. We're on Twitter. We're on our other socials tools. Then, when we get to work, we get IE6. Wow.
Maybe all of that good stuff is blocked. Maybe organizations have fixed some of that. Hopefully, at least most of you are no longer on IE6 at work. You're not blocked on accessing Facebook or other social networks. We can start to do better stuff.
The problem is, the gap in the meantime has got even bigger. The consumer stuff has continued to rush along. We take for granted all the incredible stuff that we can do on our smartphones. Then we get our clunky business tools. There's a lot of talk about this.
There's a lot of silly talk around our young folk and Generation Y. All of that is rubbish. It's a myth. Nonetheless, for all staff, now, I think there's a growing question about saying, "Wait a second. Why can't I do this stuff? Really."
The internal pressure is that all of the executives have all gone off and got iPads. They've got their own ramp, their beautiful iPads. "It's so exciting! Ah, I can't seem to access anything. Why can't I use this when I'm at work? Why can't I access my work email on this? I want more stuff on this!"
These are the most powerful people in the organization. These are the decision makers. Suddenly, they've got the sexiest tools. They're going to people like us and saying, "I want this stuff. By the way, next week will be lovely, but I can wait until the week after."
Which is putting an immense amount of pressure on teams like us, that historically have been wrestling to get internal political support to fix the intranet that we hate, or to clean up the business tools we loathe. Suddenly, we've got to move from supporting IE6 on the desktop to delivering stuff on iPads or on iPhones. Wow! That's a hard ask.
It's great that there's internal pressure for doing stuff, finally, that there's now executive visibility for the stuff we care about. But also, we don't have much time.
What we also don't have is a lot of shape around this. I've heard throughout today and yesterday lots of people saying, "The message has come down from on high. We need to do mobiles." Yeah, mobiles! Yeah. Well, what exactly?
From the questions at the end of Rachel's talk, there's lots of staff around saying "My executive says everything we should do for customers is on the mobile. But I've got this website and there's stuff on it. What am I supposed to do with that?" It's even less clear within the organization.
Before we look at the shape of that, the message that I'm going to come back to throughout all of this is that regardless of the direction you go, regardless of the resources you've got, this is a field entirely filled at the moment with low-hanging fruit. The capability to deliver solutions is so much easier now than it was one, two, or five years ago, and the legacy environment is so bad and so old, that even incremental improvements, from our perspective, can be revolutionary.
Rachel talked about the future. That's exciting. But the great thing is that we can do partial stuff today within organizations. We don't have to worry about the future. Let's do some simple stuff first. That's what I'm going to keep coming back to today, to get you excited about the fact that you can go back to your organizations, and fix things and make things work better.
What is this whole enterprise mobility thing? I'm going to talk about breaking it out into four different things. I'm going to talk about mobile connectivity, mobile productivity, field force automation, and desktop replacement.
Like all categories, there's plenty of gray, plenty of overlap. But by pulling it apart, I think we can start to put shape around what it is we're going to deliver, and start to recognize that different staff has different needs that will require different solutions.
If we look at the mobile connectivity things, this is the simple bit. This is the basics of being able to do things like, "I'll get my work email on my phone." Stuff that, "Hey! We've been out of there for quite some time on a device named after a piece of fruit." This was the big selling point. Wherever I am in the US, or when I travel overseas, I can get my work email on my phone. Great!
Maybe we can even go a step beyond that. Maybe we can actually do things like get access to my calendar or my contacts on my phone. Maybe I can book things. Maybe there is some synchronization.
Increasingly, as the nature of work changes, connectivity starts to encompass more advanced stuff. If we're using Llama in our work networks or other social networking tools, then maybe it's about that connectivity, of being able to interact with those tools when I'm on my phone, whether that's a work-provided phone. Back in the old days, you could do this stuff even on your personal phone.
Quick poll. How many people have access to their work email on, say, their personal phone at the moment? Great! That's somewhere between a third and a half. How many of those go a step further than that. What about things like calendaring and stuff like that? Yep, great. What about accessing your intranet from your personal mobile device? Oh, oh, oh! Interesting, isn't it?
Doing this stuff, this is not our job. This is IT's problem. In our workshop tomorrow, we're going to talk about mobile device management, issues of what happens when people lose phones, security, and stuff like that. Fundamentally, that's dull. This is IT's problem.
The area that we by default talk about is mobile productivity. That's even the basics. That's getting access to your intranet from your mobile device. It's about being able to do common tasks as office workers when we're away from our desks. This is where we're finally started to make some traction.
Audience Member: Question?
James: Yes? Oh! Question at the back!
Audience Member: I can almost guess what you're going to say. You're going to laugh. On my iPad, I can VPN in and have complete access to my desktop.
Audience Member: Is that great? OK.
James: Well, look. There's nothing wrong with that. If you look at that perspective, I'm going to put that in category number four, which is desktop replacement. I am doing what I otherwise would have done on my 21-inch monitor or my ultra-portable laptop, but I'm doing it on something that doesn't have a keyboard. That's good. There's nothing wrong with that. You should do that!
Particularly for people sitting in offices, this is stuff that they want to do. If I just want to quickly check something -- we'll explore this more later -- then I want to do be able to do that on whatever I've got on me.
But that's just a quarter of what we're talking about and, frankly, I don't think, the most interesting quarter. I think the better starting point is to say this. Whatever you do, don't deliver a mobile version of your intranet. I'm going to talk about this later in terms of mobile principles.
OK, so you've got a big intranet. I gave a presentation in Geneva a little while back. A bunch of UN folks, as you might imagine. They went, "She's from Nestle. They've got four million pages on their intranet."
"Wow! Four million pages!" says I. "That's great!"
The lady in question goes, "No, no. That's not right."
I said, "Sorry about that. They just told me you had four million pages."
"No, no. We don't have four million pages. We have three and a half million pages."
Wow! Are you jealous, or what? I know a lot of you guys come from big organizations, so maybe you've got equally large intranets. They turn out not to be so easy to use, even on a 21-inch screen. Trying to use that on an iPad is harder. Trying to use that on an iPhone is, frankly, ridiculous.
I don't want thousands of pages of content on my mobile. I don't. What I want is something tremendously simpler. Maybe it looks something like this. This is from the UK parliament, one of the gold winners in last year's Intranet Innovation Awards. This is their mobile home page. First impressions? Shout some things out.
Audience Member: List of links.
James: List of links.
Audience Member: Simple.
Audience Member: Boring.
James: Boring. I'll buy in to some set of negative statements. Fair enough. I can take that on the chin. I didn't design it. Any other thoughts about it?
Audience Member: I know what to do?
James: I know what to do. It's interesting. You can look at this and it's obvious. Is it exciting? Probably not to us as UX designers, but it probably is for staff because it's focused on delivering a handful of things rather than providing a window into everything.
I'll touch more upon what those things are later and how you might identify them. In their case, this is an entry point into a bunch of different stuff. Yeah, OK, it's corporate news. They only did this because they were forced to, frankly, by the comms team. No one really wants corporate news at probably the best of times. Sorry, comms folks.
You don't want it on your mobile, although obviously the more this becomes operational news the more that changes. The more this becomes updates related to the stuff I do as a field worker or frontline staff then maybe I do really want it on my phone. It's obviously simple to do.
For them, their killer application is calendars. This is the Houses of Parliament. You've seen it. It's a big building with lots of pointy bits. A lot happens. There's the diary of stuff that happens in all the different areas of the organization so that they can actually plan their day, look stuff up, and not miss things. Actually, the key bit is this strangely named thing called the Enunciator, which is a couple of hundred year old thing.
This is a real time display of what is happening at this instant in the Houses of Parliament. The old school way was to have screens all through the Houses of Parliament, which they still have, as it happens, at one pub 100 meters down the road for some strange legacy reasons. The issue is this. When it comes up for a vote, the bells are rung, and by that I mean there are bells and they're rung and you have I think it's 10 minutes to get into the chamber before they close and lock the doors.
If you're not in the chamber at a critical vote and the government or the opposition loses its thing then chances are your ass is going to get kicked. You're not just hanging around for this, right, because MPs are never in their offices. They do have them. They've got staffers in them. The MPs are out chatting with people while they're networking and politicking and background dealing and all of that kind of stuff.
If it's the US I guess that'd be meeting with lobbyists. In the UK, I'm not so sure. They're out and about. They need to be on top of this stuff and this allows them to do it. It's trivial to deliver. It's obvious to look at, but it's immensely effective for them.
They've tried a variety of things. They've recognized they implemented this when there was a change in the Parliament so you may have heard not that recently now, a little while back, big election, huge change, first coalition government in the UK for who knows how long, 30, 40 years. Hope Holland, new MPs.
This was their window of opportunity to get in a new solution. They had it ready for day one of when these new MPs started. They recognized that the Houses of Parliament being, whatever it is, a 400 year building is a bit confusing so they thought let's do maps so that people can find their way around.
This really didn't work because, interestingly, early on someone from security services came up and tapped them on the shoulder and said look, some maps thing, you do realize, right, that the Houses of Parliament are the number one terrorist target in the UK?
Kind of like the White House only there are more streets around it. You also realize that, actually, it ended up that you enabled non-staff to get access to this then that would be a state crime? What you're going to have to do is you're going to have to deliver crap maps, maps so inaccurate they can't be a threat to state security. Turns out that's not so useful.
You're going to take this out, right? This is one of the lessons, this whole agile thing that everyone's talking about next door. This was delivered by agile methodology. Some stuff hit the mark, some stuff didn't. They're going to drop this. It was worth a try. Let's do something different. What are the costs of doing this? Not much. This was easy stuff to do.
How did they develop this? They developed this with a guy in a Metallica T-shirt sitting in a corner for a couple of months. That's how this happened. They had a budget of nothing and this guy went off and built it and it's some web pages delivered to a mobile device using their standard login from home facility to piggy back on top of that.
All this was done in a short number of months and they love it and it works very well for them. Is it the end of the journey? I hope not. Is it the fanciest thing you could do? I hope not. Is it worth doing, nonetheless? Yeah, I think so. This is where the mobile productivity stuff, again, starts to deliver these low hanging fruit.
What questions do you have about this example or this kind of solution before I explore some others?
Audience Member: Are any of these functionalities seen in the website version?
James: Are any of these functionalities seen in the website version? Some of this, but actually most of this is internal. In terms of their external stuff, I'm not really sure what they're doing, but my impression, and don't quote me on this, although I am getting recorded, Houses of Parliament is not that exciting a place as an institution.
This works. This is for staff and it is very different than what's delivered out to the general public. Does that answer your question?
Audience Member: Yes.
James: There's one down here in the front.
Audience Member: It may be a stupid question but is this an actual live site or an app?
James: Is this a live site or an app? This is a site. This is HTML delivered in a cross-platform way. I don't know how much you guys keep up on British politics. I know we find it pretty funny in Australia because we copied their system. All of the MPs are given corporate devices. Each party got a different device.
This is the trick. The Tories, who would be the equivalent of the Republicans, what device do you think they got? Great, Blackberry. You guys are good at this. Labor, who would be the Democrats, what did they get? iPhone, you guys rock. The Liberal Democrats, which you don't have, they're the party who isn't the other parties. That's their definition. We're not them. They're the little party in the middle. What did they get? Android, right. Exactly. It's brilliant.
Except when you go to do this stuff. Is there an app for that? Well, that wouldn't work. That's one third of your users. They had to deliver a web thing, which turned out to be pretty easy except for Blackberry, which they estimated added 40 percent to all of their development efforts just supporting that one platform. Android and iPhone and if they did Windows phones at some point would all be easy.
You had a second part to the question?
Audience Member: No. I just wanted to know pretty much the lead-in was to find out how this site fared across blackboards, which you already touched on that.
James: Yeah. Again, I'll talk more in the workshop tomorrow about the practicalities of that and how you can do it. The big advantage that you've got is that staff work for you. Not directly, but they work for the same people that you work for so you have much easier access to them than you do for customers or consumers or members of the public. A lot of testing becomes a lot easier. Another question. All right.
Audience Member: I was wondering in terms of the execution, you have no borders, just in general, especially if you go back to the previous slides. You have tabs but there are no borders around those tabs here. Wouldn't that be easier to target if you had borders? What was the rational?
James: To Rachel's point at the beginning of the day, I think the whole mobile design space is still up for grabs. I don't know that we've really settled upon a very consistent way of designing this sort of stuff. There is some basic usability principles. Making sure people know which bits they're supposed to click on is obviously a pretty good idea, but you'll notice in this there's no sexy swiping, there's no sexy [indecipherable 0:43:20] and stuff like that.
Is that wrong? No, I don't think for this. I think this is a GUI. I'm pretty comfortable with that. It's pretty basic. I think one of the challenges we've got is as the mobile device makers all want to be distinctly different from everybody else. Look at Windows phones now, for example. I don't know, what are we supposed to do about that? Are we supposed to deliver three completely different interfaces to make it look more seamless on the device?
I think at some point or another we're going to have to crack the heads together of these mobile makers and say we don't need this complexity. Cool as it is for you guys, our job is to deliver stuff.
Audience Member: I was thinking that the creativity clean interface because if you had all those lines and shadows then it might be easier.
James: Yeah. The KISS principle, I think, is a pretty good place to start for a lot of enterprise things. Keep it simple, stupid. I don't feel the need to get tremendously fancy. Much as I would love this stuff to be fun and enjoyable, I'm happy for it to be boring and useful. That's enough for me at this point. One more question and then I'll push on.
Audience Member: I get my laptop from my company. They control what gets put on it. The IT staff is very concerned about that. This is my device, my personal device. Are there some security hurdles or even some blockers before we can get some stuff on some of these devices?
James: Yes. Yeah, there are both security issues and there are security theoretic issues. There are some legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. The glib answer is that the enterprise is to deploy one of the many third party mobile device management bits of software that just magics all those away.
The reality is slightly more complex in that and one of the questions we'll be exploring tomorrow when we've got more time is to say once I sign in to use my personal phone for work purposes, where is the neat dividing line between my data and work's data? Work has installed an application. That means if I leave my phone on a plane then the work data can be remotely wiped? Great. What about my stuff at that same time?
If I'm taking photos and half of them are work related and half of them are my kids, how exactly does the phone know which ones to delete and which ones not to? I think there's going to be some interesting things once we start to blur the line technology-wise between personal devices and work devices. What does that actually mean? I don't have answers for that yet.
This whole BYOD thing, bring your own device, is a trend that is only months old. This was only started to be talked about in mainstream media late last year. No one really knows what it means and if you're not an IBM or a Cisco or stuff like that chances are you haven't even tried this yet so we're only at the early adopt stage. It's a good question.
I think the really interesting thing is around field force automation. More than just helping people like us be productive when we're away from our desk, how do we help people who do the real work to actually get that work done? We've been doing this for ages, but the reality is that it's been pretty awful. Best case, we've been giving field staff, people are going off and checking power lines or checking meters or things like this.
Ruggedized devices, whether it's ruggedized tablets or ruggedized handheld things and they've got special purpose applications that they're using. They're great. They're very little talked about in these kinds of spaces which I think is a pity because, actually, this stuff has been happening very successfully for a full decade. But it has no visibility because it's done by operational areas in corners of organizations and not much spoken about. That's the best case.
The worst case, let me tell you a story. You might be aware that Australia is a pretty dry place and we tend to get a little bit short on water. We've had a huge drought, at the moment we're having huge floods, but recent years we've had huge droughts. A bunch of people, myself included, we're in Portland, I think I can say that safely, being all eco, I put in a water tank. Government, thanks very much, gave me some money back for that. I'm very happy with that.
Sensibly, they wanted to actually check that I had, in fact, installed the tank and that it was what I said it was and that they hadn't, in fact, been scammed out of this money, these rebates, so they sent someone out to check. They turned up with a tablet device, which I found very exciting. While they're trying to look at the tank and ask me questions about that I'm trying to look at their screen and see what they're doing and I start asking them questions, which I think they found a little bit on. They described how it worked.
I went in to get this rebate. I filled in a paper form which I mailed in to the water company. The water company clearly, then, typed that into the backend system. Great. From that backend system, that, then, generated the job for this person to go off and have a look at. This is how it works.
They took the backend system, they printed a copy of that onto paper. They scanned that bit of paper as a PDF. The PDF gets emailed to the tablet. On the tablet, they had a stylus and they could do handwriting annotation of the PDF which is then resaved as a new, annotated PDF which is then emailed back when it sits in his car after he left me, back to head office where someone receives the annotated PDF and types that back into a system.
Where it's been a tack-on to an existing, unchanged process and then that leads to these immensely convoluted workarounds that get built in as the process. Maybe, actually, we can do better than that. Maybe it's about happy people with their lovely devices.
This is a local council and they do a bunch of things including this. This is for the council Arborists, tree people, who have to go off and check on trees that have dangerous branches or have died, need to be cut down, stuff like this. This is basic stuff. I'm only going to touch on it today because I've got a whole day tomorrow on this stuff. This is basic stuff.
In the morning they're able to download all of their jobs electronically onto their device so that even when they're not connected they're able to get access to this stuff. On the device, it tells them exactly where it is and exactly what the job is. They can fill in on the on-screen keypad the location of the tree, the condition of the tree, and things like this. They can put that stuff in.
They can hold up their device and take a photo which is automatically included with the record and then they can press the submit button and it's either zapped back in real time or it waits for them to be back in mobile coverage and it sends it back to base. This is not, or should not be, revolutionary stuff. This is basic stuff, but by getting electronic forms and electronic processes on hand-held devices integrated with a few basic capabilities of the mobile device itself, like the GPS, like the camera, like the Internet connectivity. This is incredibly effective.
I talked a while back with the folks from the Environment Agency in the UK. They're like the UK equivalent of the EPA, sort of. Part of what they do is field work, so they actually go off and they check on the canals, and they check on the dams, and they check on dumping and pollution issues and stuff like this.
They told me a story about how they'd gone out with this little Indian lady who's going out to this industrial area near where their offices were. And they talked about how they're going around to these quite rough places with big beefy guys moving stuff around and frankly, they were kind of a little bit scared. Well and truly out of their comfort zone.
But this little Indian lady, she had them completely under control. She'd go around and, "You can't do that," and "Now, that's a big problem, and you need to stop that. I'm going to write you up for that." And seemed not at all fazed by this six foot, huge walls of flesh that she had to deal with.
Well, what she talked about was that every time she had to write up an infringement notice, she had to go back to the office and do it in quadruplicate. And that for every day she's spent in the field, she's spent two days in the office doing paperwork.
That's appalling. Right, this is the real people who are out saving the environment doing good stuff, that no one argues with. This is one of the fundamental purposes of the organization. This is what we make them do.
So, by giving simple stuff, now on devices that are pretty cheap. An iPad, in the scheme of things, you know, you have a rubberized shell for it, but frankly, if people drop it in a lake, who cares? Right? 500 bucks is nothing in the scheme of things. Nothing at all.
So, these devices are now cheap enough to start giving them to people and they can absolutely transform the day to day work of field and operational staff.
This is the exciting bit. You want to make money? You want to save money? You want to demonstrate ROI. This is it.
Thoughts or questions about that? Down the front.
Audience Member: How do you reconcile the fact that currently, an intranet is used as a content management system to making this a productivity tool, how do you make the case for it? I completely agree that when you go in the field that's needed. But then the people in charge think that it's a CMS tool, what do you do?
James: So my answer firstly would be this. So who said intranet was supposed to be about content in the first place? So in this, I talk about four purposes, actually these days I talk about five, and it says, you know, five fundamental purposes for an intranet. Yes, content and communication. The two traditional roles of intranets.
But it's also about collaboration, and culture, and activity. Now the intranet is a place for doing things, not just for reading things. Now my whole spiel these days around intranets is that we should be making intranets that are not just useful, but are essential.
They are essential. They are directly aligned with the core business of the organization. They directly support the day to day, minute to minute work of staff who delivers the actual services. So, that's what intranet should be doing anyway, on desktops. They sure as hell should be doing that on mobiles, because I don't want to read a 54 page safety guide on climbing a ladder on my iPhone. I don't.
Maybe I'd watch a little video about how to do something, be in the field or see some snippets of stuff, but frankly I just want the thing that tells me where to go and actually find the power pole, or which power poles I'm looking at, or what jobs I'm supposed to be doing. I'm going to read the content when I got training initially when I'm back at the office.
I think this is, for me, the difference in part between consumer mobility and enterprise mobility. A lot of consumer mobility at the moment is about this whole sit back experience. As Rachel was talking about, it's a very comfortable experience where you consume stuff.
For me, enterprise mobility is about doing stuff. It's an interactive tool. It's about as much entering stuff as it is taking stuff out. That's the mind shift, absolutely I agree, that we've got to get people over. Hopefully, by storytelling, giving examples, people can see that this stuff really can be done. Any other questions around this?
All right, so let me talk about the last bit. This is coming back the question early on about desktop replacement. This is saying that, maybe, lovely and light and sexy as this is, maybe I don't want to lug that around, or maybe there are situations even within the office environment where I don't have that with me, where I'm wandering the corridors, I'm sitting in a meeting room, and I just want to get access to stuff.
Maybe not all the stuff of my desktop, but certainly some of it, and maybe I'm not going to write huge, long emails on a virtual keypad, or I'm not going to write whole reports on it, but maybe I want to do a little bit of all of that stuff. The desktop replacement is about saying, I want simple and easy mobile access to the kinds of things I've already been doing, but better.
On a basic level, there's a bunch of third party tools that already promises to help with that, whether that's basic stuff like Dropbox, whether that's things like this... This is one of the many tools that gives you access to SharePoint, for example, on your iPad, and they're OK.
And if you look at it, look, it gives you access to a lot of useful stuff, and I applaud that. It does, unfortunately, expose all of the complexity of SharePoint on your mobile device, and there's plenty of complexity to share.
I think probably as we get more experience with this stuff and a lot of these applications, we'll hopefully simplify down to some of the more common use cases that people are doing. But early days, this is a pretty good start.
We can go beyond this. So we can do, for example, some of this stuff. This is from the Dutch parliament. You've got quite a lot of coverage. I'm going to touch lightly upon this case. But their task is this. If you've seen any of those shows about classic British parliamentary systems, that they all have ministers getting red boxes packed with papers that they're supposed to read, so, this actually does happen. The boxes are often red. And so they have a stack of paperwork.
So for the Dutch senate -- they're part-time senate people -- each week you just courier it out to them, anywhere from half a foot to a foot worth of paper that they're supposed to reading in advance of the senate meetings. So simple solution. Put the papers, unchanged, on an iPad. I mean, that's it. This becomes super-simple. It's the same stuff. So in this case, this is the topics for discussion in an individual session. It's obviously in Dutch. I have no idea what it says-something terribly exciting, no doubt, some sort of procedural issue as far as I can tell.
But if I was to tell you that this saved them in excess of 100,000 euros in the first year, and in excess of 80,000 euros every subsequent year, of actual money. I don't mean estimated ROI. They spent a hell of a lot of money on printing stuff, and then a pile of money on couriers getting that to people.
So they stopped that. So that's money that simply is not spent. These are not hypothetical savings. This is cash that is now in their pockets. And even once you factor in the initial application development, that 40,000 euros, and buying every single member an iPad, we're still 100,000 euros ahead in the first year. And it's hit every subsequent year.
And so this is the similar stories of United going off and getting however many thousand iPads to give to pilots. Same thing with the U.S. Air Force giving 10,000 iPads out. This is trivial stuff, where we can actually still place unchanged old stuff on paper with accessing that on an iPad, and change everything. There's a bunch of stuff you can do beyond this, but as a simple thing, this again was done, very little money in a handful of months. And they launched it, and everyone just uses it, and it's great.
This is easy stuff. And I think it's ridiculous that you can do something so primitive, a bunch of PDFs on a computer. Wow. It just turns out that computer is kind of light. And you can hold it in your hands wherever you are. Wow, that's transformational. And it is. It shouldn't be. But it is. The good news for you guys is that this stuff is simple, that you can do next week when you get back to the office, and change people's lives.
Any thoughts or questions about this, the last of my four categories, before I move on to design principles? I know it's pretty simple stuff.
OK, let me talk about some design principles. And I've touched upon a bunch of these already, but we'll explore them nonetheless. Look, the obvious statement -- and this is something that Rachel talks a lot about, I think is great -- which is you can't design solutions around mobiles sitting in environments like this. This is not an intellectual exercise. The design solutions that work you need to actually get out and spend time with staff.
Now again, this is not different for intranets of old. My statement that some find challenging is this, and has been for years. You can't deliver effective solutions to staff you haven't personally met. Now, if you're an organization of 100,000 people, that might be slightly scary for you and thankfully I'm not saying you have to meet all of them, but if we're going to deliver solutions to call centers or we're going to deliver solutions to building sites or to wards in hospitals, then I'd better spend some time out there.
And I've done that. I've spent a lot of time out in these environments doing field research, ethnographic research. It's a lot of what we do as a business, and it's fascinating. It absolutely exposes stuff that you had no idea even to ask about. This is where you uncover the opportunities, but you also uncover the points of pain.
You uncover the stories that become the basis for the business cases that you take to executives. The kinds of little stories I've told you today are stories about organizations you don't even work for, and frankly don't care about, but nonetheless still have an emotional reaction to.
So when those stories become stories from within your own organization, a staff that hopefully you do care about -- they become the driver for change.
It's not about pages -- it's about tasks. So if you look at things like responsive design, which is very cool at the moment, and I think it's very cute. I have no real use for it, because actually I don't care about content, right? I mean, I can easily design my intranet with responsive design, so that it adapts fluidly to the different devices, but see previous I didn't need 5,000 pages on my mobile device in the first place. So I don't really want something that is just changing the window dressing on that.
Yes, you need to do it. You need to do it for the iPad, so stuff works properly on that, but that's not the real game. The real game is to say, "We are not designing web stuff for mobiles." In the enterprise space, it is all about tasks.
And the easy point to start is to ask this question -- what six things do staff need when they're away from their desk? That simple question will reshape your thinking about this -- will reshape your projects. I mean, that's what UK Parliament did in their project. This is an example from a university that was our other joint winner in the awards last year. Same sort of design. Maybe a few more lines, but different things, because what you need in the university is not the same as what you need in the UK Parliament or in a bank or in a hospital.
That's a statement of the obvious. I'm going to throw it out there and move on.
The stuff -- the way we design desktop applications does not work for mobiles. I mean, this is what I experienced 15 years coming from a Windows application development background and then getting on to things like Newtons and discovering that all sorts of things simply didn't work. Things that required you to multi-select. Shit! I don't have a control key or a shift key. All these little, little user interface elements simply don't fly.
And so we actually had to design much simpler things, because you've got a big item, which is your finger tip. And it's kind of clumsy, and so we actually had to design that in mind. We had to design so that if you're standing in bright sunlight or in a car or you're glancing at stuff or you're up a pole working on a power line, then I've got about to use this stuff, not squint at it, put on my reading glasses and go, "Yeah, I took my reading glasses off and keep working." This doesn't cut.
And Rachel talked about this as well. The mobile devices are personal devices. And I think it's taken for granted in the consumer space. That's what it should be. So we only log on once hopefully. You know, once you do that and you go into the banking app, it gives you your bank balance, because I don't want someone else's. Or it gives me my flight bookings, because it's a phone in my pocket. So, of course, I want my stuff.
I think it's really interesting when you start to look at this in an enterprise context, you start to get solutions like this. What do students care about in a university? Exams, exam results. Can they get this at the moment? Yes, there's a student portal. Great.
So somewhere in there, that one stop shop is a click away to a system, the e-learning system, whether it's Blackboard or Moodle or whatever. And then I can click through that. Hopefully uses the same user name and password to log in, but I'm not going to assume that. I'm in there now. So now I can click on this section, courses and course administration, and then course details, and then seven confusing clicks later, somewhere down there in the bowels of it is my exam results. Or there's this.
And note, this doesn't say, "My exam results." You know, "my exam timetable," like in a fake friendliness we do on intranets. Oh, "my bookmarks." No it's not. It's your bookmarks. You gave them to me. None of that rubbish. Just unit results, because, of course, they're my unit results. It's my device.
So then this becomes simple. I don't have to go off and start to say, right. Well I want to apply for leave. How do I go about that? Well, I guess first off I go onto the intranet and then I work out which country site I go to, and then I find the HR section. And now I've got 50 policies. I find the right policy, and then in there I've got 75 pages of stuff. And then I go through that, and infer which of the rules is relevant to my current circumstance.
Maybe our devices, maybe our interfaces can just give me what I need, because actually we know an awful lot about staff. We just don't do anything with that. We provide dumb interfaces rather than smart interfaces that actually target the stuff we already know about staff.
Crazy thought. And we've talked about this already. So is it about saying, "Hey, there's an app for that." And this is that, I guess, knee-jerk reaction to the coolness of mobiles. So there is a bunch of different ways of doing this stuff. Yes, native has a place. It's more powerful. Web-based is more compatible. You've got now hybrid approaches with an app shell and then web inside.
So there are some both design decisions and there are some strategy decisions to make, and we'll explore all those tomorrow, so I'm only going to touch upon that now. But there are certainly good decisions to make.
Which is where we come, really, to this strategy side of things? So OK, we've been tasked with doing mobile. Or we see the opportunities for doing mobile. What are we supposed to do? And how do we explore this?
So I think the first thing to recognize is, like this very handsome man, mobiles are sexy. This has been exploited ruthlessly by Apple, now the most valuable company in the universe. And we can exploit it ruthlessly within our organizations. As Rachel touched upon, give someone an iPad and ooh, it's going to...ooh. I'll be back in a second. I'm just...this is brilliant.
This is why you see banks having people out in branches holding iPads, because it makes them look cool. This is where actually we go to clients as consultants, and you pull out your iPad, and suddenly your presentation is sexier.
I know senior managers that will...they love this stuff just like everyone else. So I think that funnily enough, I think there's an emotional point that is the starting point for our strategies. That a lot of what we've done in enterprises historically have been really boring-really, really important, but really, really dull. No one could get enthusiastic. The fact that, hey, I can stand up and go, "I've spent 10 years thinking about intranets" more marks that I have some sort of abnormal personality than "I'm a really exciting guy you just want to hang with."
But mobiles...they really are sexy. So now we can make enterprise stuff sexier than it ever has been before. So a strategy, I think, in brief, and again, we'll talk more about this tomorrow, the people attending my workshop, is, I think there's a slow process of starting the conversation with IT to say, "Hey. I've heard of this thing called BYOD. We need to have access to this stuff. Senior management is asking for it. Can you go off and please sort this out for me?"
That will take as long as it takes, depending on how much the security people are involved. Be involved in that process, but let it bumble on. Don't wait for it. Because I think the starting point is to go off and just do some quick research, spend a week out with staff, get a sense of where some of the opportunities lie around staff.
And then deliver something simple. So this is a proof of concept, maybe like the UK parliament or the QUT example, a simple landing page with six things that staff need away from their desk. Focus on the low-hanging fruit, but get something out there. Focus on the stuff you can do within your technology constraints while the other stuff is getting sorted out.
And once you've done that, then I think explicitly force a focus on the field and operational staff to make sure that they are an integral part to what is being delivered. Because this is where ultimately a lot of the big benefits come.
So I think very early on there needs to be something done that helps them, that not solves everything for them, but at least gets something out to them that they can start to use, and start to go back to their management to say, "Hey, we love this stuff. Can we get more of it?"
Where you start to get some of those case studies internally about how it was painful and slow, and now it's quick and easy and productive. And then we, alongside this, start to do the serious stuff. So this is where we start to develop the business case for a proper mobile enterprise. This is where we start to develop governance and ownership, and ultimately with some actual money, some actual resources, some recognition in senior management, we start to deliver properly strategic solutions.
So not just simple stuff like I've shown, but where we really start to rework how people work. This will take some time. But it's not going to happen this year, I don't think. So I say, "Start laying the groundwork for this, but in parallel, deliver some solutions now that builds some early momentum around this and starts to demystify it.
And there are two future questions I want to leave you guys with. So the first is this. So as Jared Spool said at dinner last night, he said that it's easy to deliver crap solutions to desktops. But you really can't do it to this. Because it's obvious, if nothing else, that wow, that really sucks.
So it's either simple or it's not good enough. And I think it's interesting, because maybe once we give staff simple solutions on their mobile devices, they'll start to go, so wait a second, this is really simple. And that's really complex.
Now you told me there was a hundred reasons why you couldn't do it Simple on the desktop for IT legacy reasons and API and upgrades and development costs and politics and all that sort of stuff. But then, you did it on this. So, if you can make it so simple on this, why can't I also get Simple on my desktop?
So, I wonder whether this will generate a start of a kind of reverse takeover. Not that desktop interfaces will become like mobile interfaces, because that's silly. But certainly the idea that things can be tremendously simple across all touchpoints, well, that isn't silly. But we've never seen it before, but maybe soon we're going to.
I think the big question is, is there a foreseeable future where at least for some staff, the only device they will use to access stuff will be their mobile? Or maybe, at least for some staff, we never deliver desktop solutions to them. Where their entire work, whether it's HR and finance stuff, applying for leave and updating pay slips, or operational staff, is done on mobile devices. And so, maybe this is not just the mobile first, maybe this is the mobile only.
And yeah, I think if you're looking at nurses in hospital wards, if you're looking at miners out in the middle of nowhere, or oil workers on oil rigs, then, yeah, maybe you really could give them just mobile devices.
One thing I did want to mention before the end was flag the, again the Intranet Innovation Award. So, I've shown you a bunch of examples from it. You too, can be a winner. This is an immensely smart group of people. I've had great conversations here, from some tremendously big and impressive organizations. So, I would be remiss in not highlighting that this year's awards are open for entries now. We opened last week, you've got till the end May.
Now, the crucial thing is, these are not like those other awards, run by that other usability person who's not Jared. They are not looking at Intranets as a whole, because no one has a great, a perfect Intranet. They're looking at specific aspects that add value that either help staff do their jobs or demonstrate business benefits. So, that could be just a little mobile app. Or it could be streamlining how you personalize the home page or integration of social features or a hundred different things.
So, it's nice things that you're kind of proud of that we would love to give you the glass trophy for. And there will be an awards ceremony in the U.S. on the East Coast in November. And if you win, then we'll fly you across to that, or the conference will.
So, if you want any information on how to enter that, ask me or go to the site. It's brilliant. We've had some great winners from the U.S. in the past.
And on that note, I'll wrap up to say that, look, let's go off and do stuff. I mean, this is where we, for me, it's been 15 years coming. But now the pieces are in place. The devices are good. They're pretty cheap. We've got near universal direct access. Developing for them is pretty easy.
And none of those things is perfect as yet, but they're all more than good enough to come together to make stuff that was unfeasibly hard before, surprisingly easy, at least for the lower hanging fruit. And that's where I'd start.
So, thank you, and I've probably got time for one or two questions before I let you escape for lunch.
No questions. Someone's got to ask at least one. Oh, in the front. Thank you. Blinded by the glare.
Audience Member: So, it sounds like I have your answer already to some degree, but there's definitely that different push to build one set of web pages, like you mentioned, responsive. So, if you could just comment, maybe a little bit more about your thoughts behind the intentionality of not doing that.
James: Yeah, I mean, I think to this point, we've taken the easy path. We've left it to systems to meet needs. And increasingly, we bought those systems. And I have no problem with that. Now that your finance system or your payroll system, your time shedding system, your HR system, or your CRM or whatever it happens to be.
But that's led to a world of monoliths. It's like Rachel's big boulders. I mean, that sit, and now we, I mean, I go into Intranets where there's a useful tools page that is three screenfuls full of acronyms. I mean, my god. I mean, how does staff work this stuff out?
And so, I think this is where, in terms of intentionality, I think we can say, well, no actually, we're not going to do that going forward. We're going to focus on tasks and processes and we're going to look at how we automate those. Because once we kind of atomize those, suddenly now deliver them to multi channels becomes easy. All right? It becomes easy to deliver an iPad version or an iPhone version or a kiosk version. Or whatever it happens to be, because we've atomized it.
Now, the IT people have always said that's impossible, that's why you have to buy applications. But the reality is, now that we've bought those applications, they all have APIs. Now, they're not always pretty. But they work. A lot of people know how to do them these days. So, you can actually just pluck out the bits of the process you want, leave the systems behind, they do the big heavy way back end thing.
But now we own the interface. We own the user experience we deliver to staff. And we say great, you know, vendors? Good. Good. You don't own staff, we do. They belong to us. We will design the interfaces we give to them. And look, often it's kind of MacGyver like solutions. You know it's kind of sticky tape and bubble gum and stuff like that.
But look, who cares. I don't need 99.99999 percent. It's not Facebook with 50 million billion users, an outage becomes world news. There's lots of stuff you can do, by hacking it together. And a question right at the back, just to make people run around with the microphones.
Audience Member: When you're talking about your six questions to talk with your users, I keep wanting to draw, maybe an artificial line between what is an access to an enterprise application versus access to Internet. Is there any clear delineation between what's Internet and what's served up enterprise functionality?
James: Absolutely yes. And absolutely no. If we look at the easy answer, it's from the user perspective. So staff don't understand systems, staff don't want to understand systems, staff will never understand systems. What they want is easy. They want a single seamless environment, in which they can get all of the tools and information they need to do their job.
"A single seamless environment," that's the easy answer. The hard answer, of course, is, "That's not the world we live in." We live behind the scenes. We actually, from a management perspective, from a governor's perspective, well, we have to practically draw some lines, and we don't control the owners of those systems.
Yeah, there's a great challenge for us to deliver that simple vision. I think this is where, from a user experience perspective, we have to picture the future and use that to lead.
I'm conscious that a whole room is getting deconstructed as we speak, so I will thank you for your time. I'm around. I'm friendly.
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