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New Style of IT: Employee empowerment taps into the power of people

 

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By Mateen Greenway

Chief Technologist, EMEA Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services, and HP Fellow

 

The IT landscape has shifted. To be successful, enterprises must refocus their technological emphasis from tools to users. Your people are the key. Are you ready to unlock their power?    

 

In the New Style of IT, employee empowerment is as critical as virtualization, cloud services, and resource sharing. Employees must have the tools they need to do their jobs. They must be empowered with the appropriate levels of autonomy, data access and flexibility to do those jobs in new and better ways. 

 

sm-20130131_OFFICE_BULLETIN_BOARD-330.jpgDecades ago things were different. During the advent of corporate IT, technology and processing were extremely expensive. Computing power was scarce. Programs and systems were designed for the most important business tasks, usually big number crunching processes. You had to make sure things were getting done by counting them all of the time. People and systems were organized to fit the way the computers worked. They were forced into a box.

 

This is in stark contrast to the way IT works today. Technology is no longer a mysterious force. It’s not insolated in cool rooms and tended to by teams of data processing technicians and data entry clerks. Computing power is compact, abundant, and cheap. It’s everywhere. So we can afford to “waste” processing power making devices and interfaces that are friendly and easy to use.

 

Technology is also more personal—it’s capable of solving specific problems taking place in the moment. Mobile devices with tailored apps give us exactly what we want, when we want it. And on those occasions when they don’t, we can download a different app within seconds. So what we’re talking about with employee empowerment is retrofitting the world of work to accommodate the IT saturating our personal lives.

 

Opening the box

Gone is the era when technology was a discipline segregated from the rest of the enterprise. Technology has become something we all use, all of the time—like electricity. People want to bring the kinds of IT they have in their pockets and homes into the enterprise space. Most organizations have yet to comprehensively adapt to this new paradigm. They haven’t tailored enterprise data so that it can be presented simply and be used to make decisions in real time. In the New Style of IT, information must be both visible (in a way users can understand) and actionable.

 

Sometimes called the “third platform” or the “nexus of forces,” the New Style of IT means giving people the capability to access and use enterprise information. It’s empowering them to make decisions and execute ideas based on data rather than on gut feel. This data can be accessed in real time via laptop, mobile phone, or tablet. What you’re essentially doing is bringing all of these forces together and using them to improve the work experience of your staff.

 

Employee empowerment is more than just buzzwords denoting workplace styles. It’s a process of harnessing and unleashing human resources. It’s putting yourself in the shoes of your people and asking a couple of important questions: “Do I really want to work for an organization whose applications are really old and it’s a pain to work on their systems? Why do things have to be more difficult than they need to be?”

 

In the old days of IT, such circumstances were understandable because making IT easy to use was expensive. The opposite is true today. Providing better systems and environments for people to work in is far easier than it once was. It’s deploying the same logic Google uses—providing free food and other amenities for its employees. By creating this supportive warm and friendly atmosphere, you earn the loyalty of your staff and inspire better performance. That’s the logic of it.

 

Learn more in the upcoming webcast, “New Style of IT: Four ways to thrive,” on November 21, 2013. Register now.

 

MGreenway.pngAbout Mateen Greenway

As Chief Technologist, EMEA Public Sector for HP Enterprise Services, Mateen Greenway is responsible for client innovation, evolving the industry vision and solutions, and business development. He also acts as Chief Technologist for a variety of global accounts. Mateen is also an HP Fellow, a title awarded to HP’s most innovative thought leaders.

Comments
Austin SEO(anon) | ‎11-09-2013 10:38 PM

Great article, Mateen. The degree of employee empowerment is often a driver for the advancement of technology. We all remember how IT departments resisted BYOD these past few years; but the ones who embraced this advanced their organizations' technology, and capabilities -- producing improved security, flexibility and productivity. 

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