Do mobile devices make us run better?
Yes. And I am not talking about running a marathon with the help of fitness trackers and mobile apps. By the way, if you are running a marathon, it’s a good idea to run light.
This is about running our business better and more efficient. The way we do many office processes and the way we are part of workflows unfortunately got too heavy. And I need to blame the PC here. I have worked in the days when PCs were introduced. At that time I helped utility companies transitioning from a mainframe to a client server CIS as a consultant. Many people were still sitting in front of a terminal. Then the PCs showed up. One day the IT director of that utility said to me: “If I want to give a toy to my people, I give them a PC and then they play office with it all day. I’d rather have them stay on the terminal but that’s not what’s happening here”. Soon everyone had a PC with all kinds of apps and we started playing office in a different way.
Decades later, where are we? Normal office life is that we have a terabyte of data on our laptop, documents, spreadsheets, presentations together with fancy office apps. It’s a great toy but it got fat. And we are constantly pushing e-mails to other people with documents, that’s the habit. Paper is gone, it’s now an avalanche of attachments and what we used to do in the copying rooms is now happening in our outbox. When was the last time you received or sent an e-mail like ‘Can you send me latest version of (fill in the blank)?’. We lost it bit. And at the same time, we have business applications and systems like content managuement and collaboration workspaces that need updating. Every one of us is a master of this chaos. Attending a session like ‘simplify your PC’ or ‘the digital minimalist’ or something like that is certainly an inspiration but it doesn’t make my inbox or laptop lose weight and I still have to send those updates in a spreadsheet.
There is light at the end of this tunnel and if you want to try it, you can. On your next trip, leave your laptop with the fat Gigabytes at home so you can’t physically get to it. Look at your laptop as a great machine that slows you down because it’s too heavy. The apps are like engines or muscles but 500GB of data is a lot of overweight dead energy.
Just take your phone, maybe a tablet, they have the same muscles but little fat and travel light. Your bag is now half empty with no laptop, no big power supply and no extra mouse. While you are on the road, someone asks you to look at a document. You can, it was probably sent as an attachment, your phone or table will display it just fine. Now, if you are the one that needs to make someone else look at a document, you can’t send it like on your laptop. That’s the trick that makes you think. You can’t create a ‘fat’ e-mail. There is no typical file system on your phone or tablet so you can’t search, drag and attach like before. You simply write ‘It’s on our (name of the collaboration workspace), please have a look and make updates’. Or if you need to show a presentation, do it from your phone or tablet or send a link to whomever you are meeting with. Or you need to demo SAP sales and service software for Utilities, use your tablet, no problem (see my last blog https://blogs.sap.com/2017/07/25/a-crm-for-a-utilities-company-on-a-mobile-device-is-there-still-a-difference/ ).
You will find out, it works better than you expected. And in case someone makes you rework a 100 page presentation while on the road, go down to the hotel lobby and use a public PC and access the collaboration workspace. It works quite well and it will change your habits pushing heavy e-mails and hoarding documents.
The power is in your hand with a mobile device and the energy and document supply for your work comes on the go from the cloud.
With that, going for a run soon,