Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Developing and managing productivity tools so as to encourage and promote productivity – 1

Posted in business and convergent technologies, HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on November 30, 2012

I frequently finish a series of postings by noting that I will be returning to discuss in further detail, some of the side issues that I have just touched upon. That is very explicitly what I am doing here. Earlier this year I ran a nine part series: Finding and Managing the Right Simplicity Complexity Balance (see Business Strategy and Operations – 2, appearing there as postings 262 and loosely following.)

My goal in that series was to analytically discuss more effectively structuring and managing a business, so that its overall organization and system of operational processes include the right details and complexities and no more or less. I added what amounts to a short sub-series to that in the form of its last four postings, two of which I also included in my HR and Personnel directory too:

Part 8: information technology enablers 3 and
Part 9: information technology enablers 4,

And with a Human Resources perspective in mind, I repeat a redacted version of two bullet points from my Part 8 to that series, on the importance of developing and providing an intranet capability that offers:

• A balance of resources that employees will use – but for their work responsibilities and not simply as personal entertainment.
• And doing this in ways that support and even enforce good information security and due diligence policies.

I did not pick up on those points or the issues that come out of them in that series, but I have seen that planned omission as leaving a gap in this blog – and I note that it involves issues that can become very important to Human Resources, to Information Technology and to Finance, Marketing and Communications, and Risk Management and to the organization as a whole.

The issues I address here go back in their roots to the earliest days of business-supportive information technology.

• When businesses began bringing in the then still new technology option of having a telephone in the office, employees immediately started using it to make personal calls as informal work breaks.
• When a later generation of business entrepreneurs brought in email, employees began using that for personal messaging too, and I add that personal use messaging was the first real if unexpected and unintended killer-app for the first pre-internet ARPANET.
• The advent of the World Wide Web and web sites opened up whole new worlds of possibility for making personal use of business-supported and paid-for technology.
• And of course the dual advent of online social media and ubiquitous portable technology have both blurred the line between work and personal life, and the effective understanding as to what personal use of business technology can even mean. In a fundamental sense, the bring your own technology movement has only formalized the ending of this business versus personal use, older paradigm.
• But there is still something in all of this that needs to be discussed. Every effective new information technology implementation that businesses bring in-house for business efficiency purposes, carries with it a set of benefits in increased value generation and business opportunity. But in day to day, real world experience every one of these information technology advances and innovations also brings in a set of correlated costs too – which always explicitly include personal and other non-work uses as a significant source. And this includes lost bandwidth capability, increased risk of virus and malware exposure, and a host of other challenges.

My goal in this series is to in effect update this already ongoing dialog as it occurs and has occurred in businesses everywhere. I am going to start digging into the details in my next series installment, where I will at least begin a discussion of what technologies are involved here, and how they are actually used and at times misused. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at HR and Personnel. I also include this in Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time.

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