Given all of the traction with social networking, it is not surprising that the question comes up continually in business conversations- should my business embrace social networking? This is not an easy question to answer and respond to. I will do my best to present both sides of this argument.
First as always, the disclaimer. The opinions and thoughts represented on this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
The value of social networking cannot be understated. In this flat, globalized world today , news and social value is clearly a part of our communicating to our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and our counterparts everywhere. The fact that this blog is part of that fabric should suggest my personal feelings. On the pro side of the equation are the very valuable content that social media initiates. It is important to note that content is in the eye of the beholder. What may be relevant and important content to me, may be of considerably less importance to you. If my blog, for instance, included my personal interests of baseball and diet (for example) the value may decline in terms of why the blog has a value to you as a reader and participant. However, for many, there obviously is an interest in day to day observations and activities. Social networking is now a substantial part of the relationship that people retain, it has value.
The news media represents one of the segments where the value proposition is well defined. Securing news and opinion from all points of view are now challenging mainstream media outlets. The mainstream media has also embraced social networking, so the playing field becomes much narrower. In my opinion, this trend will continue with minimal abatement.
With all of the ubiquitous networking and available content, should your business embrace social media?
Like all positions in lifecycle management, there is no clear right or wrong answers, only conscious and unconscious decisions. Social media falls in this category. The hypothetical approach may be the most useful. If you are a business, and considering social networks, the first quesiton is - what is the purpose? Is it to link manager to manager, manager to employee, employee to employee, customer to employee... the point is that the string may be endless. The social network discussion is much like the BYOC discussion- is this a business or personal application?
If the business owns the PC (as an example) and embraces social networking, who owns the content? What happens if an employee states an opinion (without a disclaimer), someone relies on it, and it proves to be an issue. Who is legally responsible?
What happens if Employee A states something unfavorable about Employee B, and Employee B sues. I am not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, but I can certainly see issues in this space.
If a business embraces social networking, are we enabling the technology and the related dialog that will naturally accompany it, and therefore are we somehow responsible? Clearly with social networking in a business environment, there needs to be training and criteria to be certain. Even with such rigorous training, is liability mitigated? I don't know.
For me, it always goes back to the basic dialog that we have in business- what is the benefit to the business itself. To count, the benefits need to be measureable and quantifiable, otherwise it will remain subjective. Depending upon your business and the industry that you are in, the risk for intellectual property, consumer information, and other liability needs to be a consideration in adopting social networking in your business. Once this line of communication is opened, it will prove to be a challenge to revert back if there are issues.
Interestingly, the core issue is one that we in IT have been challenged for years- are these business PC's or personal PC's. Social networking is a cross over issue, everyone is using it and directly or indirectly your business will be impacted. Whether someone enters a posting during business hours, reading or creating content, texting, or multi-tasking we need a governance model and guidelines to deal with this. Ignoring social networking is not a plan. As I have stated before, not fully in jest, is that if we in IT do not provide a plan , the end users will provide one for us that we will have to support.
I would be as always interested in your perspectives.
By the way, I am glad baseball season has started (go Red Sox) and I just ate a sausage pizza for dinner.
Monitors are one of the most overlooked aspects of client computing. In many cases we just take it for granted that the monitor in place can remain in place for as long as we want it to, which is generally quite a while.
Before I proceed, as always the disclaimer. the comments and content on this blog represent my own opinions and not those of my employer.
If your business has a CRT fleet then you know as we all do that the regulations to dispose of those devices are now significant. The weight alone to palletize or ship older CRT's can be onerous now to say the least. Obtaining a certificate of destruction is now a must have type of item.
For many businesses (and perhaps a majority of us) the monitors are handled as a fleet. The monitors are bought en masse, expensed, and likely forgotten until an end user indicates their monitor is broken or we have to replace it. As a fleet, monitors useful lives are frequently viewed as 4 years minimum, 5 years or more if we can (and many can).
However, the monitor business just as client computing is having a bit of a renaissance of sorts. My opinion is that high definition television and laptop monitors have a great impact of this. This is another one of the cross over implication from consumerization. We in IT tend not to be concerned about monitors until we have to be. Perhaps that is not a good position to be in any longer.
The business case for newer monitors is compelling. I would make the following points to validate the perception- energy management and power consumption, residual value of the older monitors, screen size, definition, weight and footprint.
From an energy management and power consumption perspective, think about it in this context, the technology that is 5 years old today cannot come close to Energy Star compliance. If you check the government Energy Star website you could do a side by side comparison to what you might have in the installed base today compared to newer monitors. What you would likely find is a savings similar to desktops $30 per year in terms of power reductions. With Windows 7 and power management setting, these figures are improved even more. The acquisition pricing of monitors is lower than they have ever been before. The argument that was recited before was that the monitor cost was too high, I do not believe that to be the case any longer if the full business case is considered.
The second part of the business case could be the remaining value or the residual value of the monitors in place. All of the tier 1 OEM's and partners have trade in menus that one can test this out. I believe what you would find is that CRT's have 0 value and that it may cost the business to dispose of them. Older flat panels may suffer from the same fate or have a nominal value remaining. The art behind this aspect of a monitor technology refresh is to replace the monitors before the residual value is nil.
Screen size is another factor today in monitors, 19" may be the new norm. Think about monitors the same way we think about BYOC, influenced by the home experience. More homes have high definition capabilitiesand larger screen sizes.
Related to all of this is the definition aspect and color. Aside from the obvious consumer impact (larger is better) consider that the color range and variability that is available today. If one is a workstation user, the direction desired is clear.
Size and weight matters. Older monitors weigh considerably more and take up considerably more real estate on the desktop. These seem to me to be the same argument used in discussing a desktop technology refresh.
The final point I would make in the dialog regarding monitors is that it may be time to reconsider how we manage these devices- I am not sure the generic fleet approach still works given the pace of innovation.
The deciding factor may be the most important- end user satisfaction may be the rationale to update the monitor fleet. New hires will not look kindly to older monitors to do their work, and end users know what they have at home. Maybe it is time for a BYOM (bring your own monitor to work).
What are your thoughts?