Category Archives: Business Process

BYOD: Why It Should Be The New Normal

Smartphone UseThere’s been a lot of talk lately about Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD) to work. It’s not a new concept. People love their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. They prefer using a particular brand for personal and work. They bring it to work because it’s convenient to carry just one device, and they can be productive with their own.

Traditionally, companies provide their own “certified” devices to retrieve secured Enterprise data. However, it’s difficult to stop employees from transmitting those data somewhere else, either via E-mail, USB drives, or Cloud Storage, potentially enabling others to see them. A strong privacy policy may be enough deterrent – at least in the beginning. As time goes by, employees will get complacent and too comfortable in taking their data everywhere, not realizing the confidential data may be leaked.

As an IT leader, one can imagine the complexity of supporting multiple devices and worries about zero control over securing protected data. Case in point, the biggest early adopter of BYOD was IBM. They learned valuable (and painful) lessons from it. Employees were not aware of insecure apps, not using secure channels to transmit data, and losing their unprotected/unencrypted devices. These security breaches could potentially cost them, or anyone else for that matter, millions of dollars to repair.

So, why is there growing trend to adopt BYOD? In this tough economic condition, company expenses have to be cut aggressively. The most obvious is to stop allocating budget for productivity machines. Having the cost shifted to the employees, it eliminates the need for company’s machines to be stocked, upgraded, and re-stocked.

Employees have also voiced their concern about the lack of productivity using company issued devices, such as a Blackberry, instead of their favorite iPhone or Android phones. It doesn’t make any sense to have a dedicated, company issued, device just to receive e-mails or phone calls for work, and another for personal use. It certainly becomes challenging to carry two devices, especially when an iPhone, for example, is more than enough to handle all of those tasks and be just as productive.

IT leaders are starting to embrace this BYOD trend because solutions are starting to appear, as the concept become widely accepted. Android and iPhone devices are now equipped with additional security to deter data theft or loss. Both Google and Apple are serious about Enterprise adoption and have updated their OS to be more secure. Now, it’s up to the IT leaders to trickle down the information to users on how to secure their devices, according to the companies’ need.  Instead of preventing employees to bring their own devices, educate them on how to secure the content of their own devices. As Ronald Reagan would say: “Trust, but verify.” There is a level of trust on both sides, but both must remain vigilant.

It is time to stop believing the myths of bringing-your-own-device to work. BYOD is happening, whether or not IT is ready. It is the “new normal”.

Quality Visual Presentation

Ever sat in a meeting with slides and slides of presentation that showed nothing but densely packed text and confusing charts?  Most people have. It’s no wonder many don’t look forward to going into meetings when their first expectation is a poor presentation.

However, there was one man who could present and held the audience captivated.  He was Steve Jobs. During his keynote speeches, he managed to get the audience hanging on to his every word and anticipating that “one more thing” that would leave everyone in awe.  It helped that he had great products to present, but in addition, he used visuals as one of the most important tool of his presentation.  He used minimal words (and numbers) written using a giant font. He used graphical icons to represent the current topic. He used animation for impact. Very concise and to the point.

So why doesn’t everyone follow Steve’s presentation methods?  Perhaps it’s because of the old thinking: “More is good”. The more stuff written down, the more credible and complete it gets. Unfortunately, these days, people are busy and have a short attention span. They don’t want to be held up in a long winded presentation.

The best ways to present effective visuals:

  • Be simple
  • Use graphics, icons, and symbols to reinforce or communicate a concept
  • Use key words, not full sentences
  • Contain only one concept per slide or page
  • Contain only three to six ideas on each flip chart sheet
  • Use color where possible, but not excessively

Steve Jobs was known to obsess over design.  He was also obsessed with simplicity.  It showed in his quality presentations. One can learn a great deal from his obsessions. It would make sitting in presentations a much more pleasant experience.

The Importance of Page Loading Time

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Customers are very fickle when checking out a company’s web site.  Unless they’re desperate, a person browsing a site tend to go quickly from one page to another.  Their attention span is short.  Their time is valuable.  They don’t want to spend too much time waiting for a web page to load.

Companies have spent a substantial amount of money to improve page loading times.  Improvements include upgrading internet connectivity, buying faster computers, reducing web applications RAM usage footprint, or investing on a content delivery network.

What other important reasons to improve web performance?

  • Increase in traffic due to natural business growth, or advertising campaigns.
  • Snappy response times are required when using the latest web browser tools, such as AJAX.
  • Google is planning to rank web pages by their load times.
  • Increase use of videos using embedded Flash, and future HTML5.

There is a cheaper way to improve web site performance: Optimize Content.  It means reducing the use of heavy graphics, Flash files, or client side Javascripts.  It also means reducing HTML and CSS file sizes.  It may seem contradictory, but ultimately, content dictates page loading times and can improve the web browsing experience.