There is a lot of buzz in the IT-market on the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend where employees bring consumer technology to their workplace. Some are referring to this trend as a tidal wave and some as hype but they all share the conviction that it is an IT matter. Personally, I argue that we are doing ourselves a disservice if we smack a four letter acronym to it and limit ourselves to discussions on the appropriate trade-offs in providing an attractive workplace to young employees and minimizing potential risks to the IT-environment. This development is much bigger than that. Avanade, where I work, is one of the companies that understand the true potential of this movement. We call this trend “Work Redesigned” and I have to say that it is extremely refreshing that our Point of View on this is free of all references to BYOD.
Traditionally, we are used to a workplace where decisions on how to use IT to enable the business have been taken top-down. But that has changed. In September 2012, Avanade surveyed nearly 600 C-level executives on the business and IT-side to get insights into the impact of an employee-driven workplace. The results are revealing and support my notion that we are on to something big. It comes as no surprise that 60% of the respondents have employees that use personal computing devices at work. But the really interesting fact is that 71% of them have changed at least one business process to leverage the benefits of the technology. 20% of them have changed four or more processes. Another interesting finding is that 33% of the respondents have employees that use tablets for advanced business processes such as CRM, project management, content creation and data analysis. That really dispels the myth that tables only can be used for consumption of the information.
I have a candidate to a process in the financial services sector that is ripe for some re-engineering, the advisory process. A client of mine admitted during my demonstration of a Windows 8 app for Investment Advisors that their advisors are forced to revert to paper and pen to explain their recommendations when clients challenge them. Currently, they do not have any better support to explain the impact on risk and expected yield from diverting from the recommended asset allocation. It is amazing, especially considering that these investment advisors are managing the bank’s wealthiest customers. Another client of mine had an advisor that was so frustrated with the poor support during the client meeting that he developed an Excel based model on his spare time that he used to motivate his recommendations. The model is now corporate standard for meetings with Private Banking clients and is named after the inventor.
I argue that it is time that we drop the device focus and start talking about “Bring-Your-Own-Ideas” or even better “Work Redesigned”. It is evident that the bottom-up approach to redesigning processes is successful, something that is confirmed in the Avanade survey that reports that companies that have embraced collaboration technologies are 73% more likely to report improved sales and new customers. Just imagine if we dropped the device focus and thereby changed the mindset from whether to allow to how we can support the new ideas on how to redesign processes. Then, our hero that developed his own advisory solution could get some backing from the IT-department to build something like the app below and at the same time spend more time with his family: