Why is workplace technology so much harder to use than personal technology?

However, for many employees, going to work is like going back in time. We experience confusing interfaces, interconnected systems, and complex symbols. Of course, workplace software is often complex and requires training courses that are specific to how employees use it.

All of this leads to a simple question: Why is workplace technology so easy to use as personal technology?

The answer is not as simple as the question. There are valid reasons why the technology we use at work is more complex. Companies have different missions, different restrictions, different security threats.

The fact is, the difference between personal and workplace technology should not be so great. To narrow it down, employers need to rethink how they build their technology, who speaks and how they deliver it. If you can do that, the technology available may not be as simple as a smartphone. But every time employees hear new technology coming, they are more likely to be afraid of it.

Does this make a difference? There is no question about it. Excessively complex technology makes employees more efficient and less involved. Dissatisfaction in the workplace contributes. And causes workers to burn and leave.

it’s complicated

It can be seen as a problem that can be easily solved by replacing old technology with modern ones. But it is not that simple.

First, there may be thousands of employees scattered across the country, and one company simply cannot replace old IT systems and software with newer ones, as we often see in user IT. And when companies develop packaged software, which they consider to be their special requirements, it becomes more and more difficult to make the implementation of upgrades more complex and expensive.

Second, there is the issue of embedded legacy technology. This is because companies typically design their own technology systems. Their monolithic design of data, process logic and user interface all combine an independent and independent IT system. This, of course, will satisfy sellers with the lock it promotes, but it can cause problems if a company wants to move to a new service provider. That’s why old technology is so popular.

Thirdly, with Consumer IT services the services are mostly “point” solutions, one purpose, consider traveling to another city to see your favorite band. Fly and enter your name, address, telephone number and credit card details, select another airline unless you are a regular airline and this information has already been stored and all this information must be reopened. When you book a hotel room, you do it all over again. Concert tickets then reserved, restaurants and taxis drop off at the airport, all with different apps and interfaces.

Everything can be time consuming and even difficult, but it is also very easy.

On the other hand, the corporate world seeks to integrate and exchange information within the organization. An organization’s technology landscape may have different vintage, silo, and systems often combined with adhesive tape technology. This leads to complexity.

Fourth, complexity can also come from regular business activities. For example, finding a company often involves taking special IT systems. Companies operating in different geographies are required to meet different levels of maturity National IT infrastructure and environmental control and sometimes market requirements. Strategic activities by competitors can sometimes be immediate, which means that new systems must be built quickly without compromising corporate architecture.

Fifth, security and privacy issues are also different in the business IT world. We are responsible for protecting the privacy of our personal data, including how we use it, store it and the rights we give to others. In the corporate environment, employees are communicating with other people, especially customers, patients and citizens. They have a legal responsibility and are concerned about the protection and safeguarding of this data, ensuring that the information or systems do not in any way affect the business performance or reputation of the business.

All of this has only aggravated the problem. When covenant countries were forced to lock up, companies accelerated their investment in modern workplace technologies. Video conferencing, collaboration forums, document management and other digital tools were released at great speed.

But many have ended what we now call Kovit: modern solutions and old technologies are tied to old ways of doing things. Adding to the problem is the fact that the same capacity products from different suppliers are being deployed at the same time (think of Zoom and Microsoft teams or think of Yammer and Slack) in a hurry to support remote work.

The next way

Clearly, all of these factors pose a challenge for organizations that want to simplify their technologies. But it is not impossible. More and more intelligent companies have learned that the standards for the use of workplace technology should strive to be similar to consumer-oriented technology. They do this by following these five principles.

Involve all users in the design process. The consequences of not doing so are well illustrated by the experience of many employees in their organization’s cost management application. Typically, the accounting department buys cost management software and distributes it to all employees. Not surprisingly, the software is great for accountants. But because it brings a lot of work to individual employees. The result is cluttered interfaces to process claim data and receipts with incomprehensible processes, which misleads the user experience.

Instead, multidisciplinary teams must first understand how to solve staff problems, so they can build experiences that satisfy the needs of all stakeholders, whether in sales, accounting or anywhere else.

Develop workplace experiences together rather than solutions. Sometimes, the purpose of new technology is to make employees work differently. They may want the seller to spend more time with the customer or to record the number of people blocked. While we do not want to change the old school system, we do need to make it easier to do new things in new ways.

Often, new technology increases complexity regardless of the employee’s experience. If you force someone to add two clicks to what they are doing 100 times a day, two things are certain.

The same approaches used to design customer engagement systems in collaboration with technology professionals and staff will be implemented to build employee face-to-face applications. Instead of focusing on building a “solution”, they develop experiences that satisfy the needs of all stakeholders.

Do everything on the same platform. One bank we studied developed a powerful digital transformation strategy that offers award-winning digital solutions to customers. As customers celebrated, the staff roared in the background like ducks. Conflicting technologies did not keep pace. All the ordinary things that have to do with work — applying for vacations, going into training, managing a trip, and so on — were very complicated. Employees had to remember which system to use, how to use it, and what password to use most of the time.

The CEO was determined to do something. By integrating all work-life technologies such as email, social networking, cost and travel management, planning and more into one platform, employees are able to manage all of these technologies in one place. Employees were more likely to have a virtual environment than a network of interconnected workplace technologies.

Use cloud-first, mobile-first approach. Most problems in the workplace are solved by the team. Making work more mobile and accessible to the cloud means that talented people can come together for better results.

For example, specialized surgeons in Europe work with teams in Australia. Experienced engineers work with teams in remote mines without leaving their homes. They want all images, documents, and live views to be available and available when needed, to make it easier for people to collaborate and make decisions. Workplace technology can provide speed, accessibility and security, which means that the best people for the job can be found anywhere.

Use AI technologies to help employees get the most out of digital devices. AI “Coach Bots” can guide employees to use the right technology. How users work with technologies to make things easier or easier.

One company in our study has developed extensive calendar-management capabilities to make it easier for its people to organize meetings, but it has proven that its capabilities are not being put to good use. Used to automate room searches, manage guest passes, and organize parking, catering, and other services. The more the system is used, the more the bots learn. It used to be a tedious task, full of mistakes, time consuming, easier and safer.

Bots have significantly reduced training costs and the time it takes to introduce new technologies. Workplace changes may take effect in days rather than in previous months.

Have staff rated the technology. Consumers evaluate the technology they use in their personal lives. If some new software gets ambiguous, the software company will move quickly to fix it. Why shouldn’t employees have the same voice? The key to great workplace technology is to amplify those sounds, make changes quickly, and deliver technologies that make work easier.

Dr. Peppard, a technologist, was previously a senior research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Professor Derry is a professor of business, technology and innovation at Macquarie University School of Business in Sydney and an academic researcher at the MIT Information Center. You can find reports at @ wsj.com.

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