IT Support and the Worker-Driven Tech Revolution

As you’d expect from an event with “consumer” right in the title, the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show kicking off Tuesday in Las Vegas isn’t particularly focused on business’s needs. But the business IT site Information Management has an interesting take on why enterprise should be paying attention to CES anyway.

For one thing, a lot of much-discussed tech trends, from gamification to next-generation tablets, apply to companies as much as to consumers.

Even more, though, these days consumers—who, after all, are also workers—are often the ones driving the adoption of new tech in the workplace. If a delivery driver finds an app that makes it easier for him to steer around traffic as he makes his deliveries, you can bet he’ll use it, even if it hasn’t been approved by the IT department. In fact, it can sometimes be the techies who slow down adoption of new things because of security or reporting concerns.

Does that mean computer specialists’ only place at the office is to put a brake on the rampant spread of new technology? Of course not. A modern IT support service—whether it’s an internal department or an outside contractor—needs to be more involved than ever in the day-to-day life of an office.

Thwarting the adoption of new tech is not just futile, but it can lead to employees inadvertently do things that may be illegal, or counterproductive. Instead, IT support staff need to help employees at every level think through their tech needs and find ways to use the best tools for the job, and use them safely.

That requires not just on-demand IT support, but IT consulting to figure out strategies to stay on top of trends and let workers’ innovation work for the company, not against it.

Three Tips for a Smooth Hackathon

Hackathons are periods of time allocated for employees to shed their normal work load in order to focus on anything that has to do with the business.  So that idea that you’ve always wanted to implement, but never had the work time to do, a hackathon is the answer.  This period that you give your employees can be used to innovate and improve your practices.  Here are some tips to make sure it goes smoothly and productively.

  1. Organize.  In the weeks leading up to the hackathon, create a Google doc and share it with everyone.  In it, everyone places down their ideas that they think they will improve the business.  Not everyone will have ideas, but that’s okay.  Everyone can, however, contribute.  They can see what other people have in mind and lend a hand.  You, as an employer, can see everyone’s ideas and allocate resources appropriately.
  2. Set limits.  By setting strict limits in terms of time and resources, you will encourage your hackathoners to keep their focus and create achievable projects.
  3. Follow up.  Have a meeting within a few weeks of the hackathon’s conclusion.  That way people can share their achievements.  It can also be a good chance to plant the seeds for the next hackathon project.

We wish you the best of luck with your hackathon.