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Organisational salvation and the rise of the machines

It’s a bold attempt to help us to be more productive at work (and at play). It’s on a unified platform of applications. It’s cloud based. It’s neatly wrapped up with a monthly price tag, and an a la carte menu of options. But just reeling off the obvious benefits to Office 365 doesn’t do justice to Microsoft’s fastest ever growing product or give any insight into the deeper undercurrents in the tech sector that are leading to our organisational, and productive, salvation.

Nexon /
Technology

Probably one of the biggest issues for busy staff is how to stay on top of huge amounts information all the time. Most of the day can be taken up with meetings, customers, interactions, interruptions and distractions, so that when it comes time to do what we might call ‘real’ work, the normal working day is over.

In an age when working is about efficiency and doing more with less, there has to be a better way to work.

Imagine if we could all interact in real time, take live notes, avoid email trails with complex attachments, action actions during meetings, and easily access files that aren’t buried in obscure folders six clicks deep.

Anyone working within Information Technology will know the dream we have been selling for many years – of working anywhere on any device.

We imagine legions of staff at the beach, stress-free, having a morning coffee with their laptop, being productive in the sun with a smile on their face and a soft breeze blowing  through their carefree hair. At least this is how the marketing people portray it.

The converse nightmare is the reality in many instances. Instead of feeling the sand between our feet, we are now always contactable and are never offline – whether this is answering emails late into the night, or even when on holiday.

The flexibility is a trade-off, and one which the average worker isn’t winning.

Without a proper change management, training and a clear bigger picture, applications have been making us more like slaves to our machines, with us feeling obliged to stay on top of out-of-control emails, overwhelming amounts of information, and the fast growing number of social media channels.

Surely the goal should be to work smarter and not just squeeze more out of people? To be productive without making working life a 24/7 misery.

Technology today should be the enabler, the giver of freedom, the educator.

We must find a way to teach our organisations how to consume IT and the products being enabled, not forgetting the important human element. It isn’t going to work if we roll out a new system and expect people to suddenly change their behaviours. Millennials are entering the workforce as users of the smartphone where technology becomes fun, easy to use, and personal. This attitude needs to be embraced and spread. Working collaboratively is a behavioural change in most work places.

The movement towards IT systems being delivered as commodity computing, and having common platforms is already accelerating the capabilities and disruptive potential throughout almost every industry. With the advent of homogenous platforms, situations like App Stores mean that millions of people can install apps, delete them, and ensure they are up-to-date without much effort. This is how IT is developing in the business arena, with computing platforms now available in the cloud. Firewalls, Optimisation, Storage platforms are evolving into being software apps running in the cloud rather than being appliances. There are many more disruptions to come.

So what about Office 365, is it really a platform that can promote collaboration and productivity improvements, and let your smart people go and work from the beachside café?

Yes it is. Office 365 is a disruptive product and small to medium businesses should be aware that Microsoft are putting all their best efforts and brains into a Cloud First, Mobile First philosophy. So all the best bits of their software will be available for the cloud version of their products. It will improve your life, however, only if you understand what your goals are, and take the time to learn and play with the extra tools it offers.

Will it save us from ultimate destruction at the merciless hands of the machines? We doubt it.

Contact us to learn more about O365 by phone on 1300 800 000 or email us at sales@nexon.com.au.