Let’s imagine you are an employee in a company, not working in IT. Maybe finance, HR, customer support, admin, sales, management… pretty much any end-user role I guess. We can safely assume that you have at least two things within reach – a computer, and a smart phone/mobile device (corporate, or personal or a combination of both). And a cup of coffee as well if you are me.
You are busy working on your computer. Then -pop- a message appears on your computer screen. You don’t know what do do. It might be an error stopping you from doing what you want – maybe it’s even now stopping you from logging in, maybe an application or website you need is returning a error. Maybe it’s a warning message, giving you a choice, but full of complexity. Do you continue, do you cancel?
Here’s one I received once. What would you do?
No wonder we joke about ‘have you tried turning it off and back on again’.
So you Google it? But that takes typing, that takes time. Assuming you can get to Google at all. If you can, you get hundreds of different bits of generic advice. It doesn’t tell you about your company IT usage. The vital value that IT brings where real answers start with : ‘In our company….’ or ‘in your role….’ or ‘we recently made a change…’ or ‘you can contact this person for help…’
So, you might phone IT. Don’t laugh. Many still do. So, you phone, maybe wait in a queue, you eventually get through to someone and describe the message. Maybe a few times. You read out the text slowly. Maybe twice. If IT doesn’t know the answer immediately, they’re going to type it. type type type. Then – ideally – see searched advice presented too them somehow. Those valuable ‘we recently made a change….’ ,’in our company…’ – relevant good advice’. So they describe it back to you over the phone. If you are still there.
Isn’t this all just too hard? Hardly anyone is willing to do this any more. It’s painful.
Or you might email it in to IT. Or put it in self-service. Either you type that error text in, or you send a screenshot and the IT analyst who eventually picks it up from their queue will …. type type type the text out from the screenshot, search and provide you that good advice. A long time after you needed it.
It’s no wonder people turn to shadow IT when the experience of getting help from corporate IT can – in some cases – be so painful.
Look at that ‘journey’ from issue to answer. The journey from end-user incident to IT solution is often long, painful and difficult. It can improve if the service desk has tools like remote control, allowing them to take over and eliminate some of the further back and forth need for talking and typing. But that only ever happens after much time and all that type type typing.
If only you had a little IT ‘eye’ that could see the issue, and give you that good IT advice there and then. No delay. No communication with other people. No barriers. I’ll come back to that…
The Time is Right for Mobile, Visual Innovation
Now take a look at the modern workplace. We talk a lot about how the typical employee in any business is IT-savvy, but it’s a lot more than that. The modern employee is actually hyper-connected and visual. This is due to three major influencing tech/social/communication shifts.
1 – mobile devices with internet access. There are a billion articles about how mobile is changing the world. or has changed the world. We all have the internet in the palm of our hands. You might be reading this on a mobile device. If not, I bet your mobile device is within immediate reach. And that gets you into the big wide world in fractions of a second. Emails, social platforms, video, connected games, chat, search. Your smart phone is the sixth digit on your hand, and it’s permanently touching the internet.
2 – visual communication. We increasingly communicate in pictures because it so incredibly easy. Just look at the massive volume of statistics about picture usage and video usage in the internet. Snapchat, how many emails to and from IT contain screenshots? How many IT FAQs and articles contain pictures? If I want to share something, I share a picture of it. Look at Twitter. Ha – look at emoticons 🙂
3. Our phone camera is our visual capture and memory. People now use the camera on their phone to capture what they see because it’s easy. Not for ‘nice pictures’ but to retain. I’ve got hundreds of photos of white board scribbles, other peoples powerpoint slides, furniture, wiring, plumbing, posters, maps. Not because they are good photos, but because if I photo them, I retain them and can refer to them again. It’s natural. See something you might need to refer to again? Capture it with your phone.
So, put those together and you arrive at today, where, for most people, the reflex action of picking up the phone, taking a photo, and sharing it onward take seconds.
But, as I described above, the communication journey with IT is long, hard and painful.
So, what’s the solution?