At our Enterprise Connect (EC) digital event last week, Kevin Kieller of enableUC, a frequent No Jitter contributor and EC speaker, made an interesting comment in the chat window of our keynote session. He said he’d heard a great line at a recent conference; someone said, "I set my out-of-the-office when I go into the office."
What the speaker meant according to Kieller, is that their office has become “more of a social space.” “Often when working remote, knowledge workers are more reachable and responsive,” Kieller added in contrast.
That makes sense. If remote is primarily for heads-down work that means the end user is peering at a screen that probably teems (no pun intended, honestly) with continual chat message popups and email alerts. It can be a lot harder to avoid people in that circumstance, even if you’re sitting in a room by yourself.
In contrast, the office now is meant to attract workers with features up to and including colleagues eager to share the more creative interactions that many people find difficult in remote collaboration. Even if these employees have their laptops open and in front of them, their attention is likely to be held by those they’re in the room with.
It’s critical for IT/communications professionals to understand these bits of end users’ lived experience. And it’s not clear that they’re as well positioned to gain this understanding as they could be. In the keynote session where Kieller made his chat comment, Adam Holtby of Omdia, the lead speaker, noted that his recent Future of Work survey found, “IT remain the digital gatekeepers.” Specifically, when respondents were asked, “What is your organization’s approach when procuring new technologies?” the answers broke down as follows:
- IT department determines the need and makes the final recommendation: 48%
- Senior management evaluate the solution and provide research on investment decisions to departments/business units: 29%
- Our organization makes decisions with the input of stakeholders from across different business units: 18%
- Individual departments research and decide on the solutions that best suit their needs: 5%
That large plurality at 48% actually isn’t good news for IT, Holtby maintained, because IT leaders need the kind of “input of stakeholders from across different business units” that only 18% currently get.
I’m convinced the vast majority want that input, too. I can’t remember ever talking to anyone from IT who didn’t
want it. Most seek it out as best they can, but as Holtby’s survey shows, it’s a matter of having processes in place to capture it, in a systematic way, especially when IT/communications teams are planning to roll out new technology. And it seems more can be done on this score.
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