Archive | August 2015

An update from our 2015 Associates

Last month’s blog by Ed was a chance to reflect over the past 6 months of the programme, and our development within the company so far. We have had some truly fantastic opportunities, as I am sure you will agree, and we are all very excited to see what the next few months has in store for us! This month I would like to look to the future, and how IT is increasingly shaping the world around us. The world is becoming a smaller place as people become more interconnected through social media and more mobile enabled in the way they work. This in turn generates vast amounts of data, which businesses are looking to analyse to influence their business strategy. The rise of cloud computing has given users access to this data at any time. Collectively these trends are sometimes referred to as the SMAC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud), workers worldwide are becoming more mobile, and demanding more from their technology. Computacenter has launched its own Enterprise Mobility Management solution in line with these trends to ensure its own employees are maximising their productivity and workplace flexibility, and I would encourage you to take a look at the promotional video on Browzaplus if you haven’t done so already! I would also like to give you a few personal examples of these trends, the first is one of my personal interests and the second is taken from a project I have been working on as part of the Associate programme.

In 1988 Akai released the MPC60, a drum machine with 16 rubber pads that allowed you to ‘sample’ (record) any audio source, chop it up, and assign these smaller samples to each pad to play the recorded source in any order you liked. The MPC60, with its 750kB of memory (expandable to 1.5MB if you could afford it) cost $3000, and spawned a new era in music creation. If you own a hip hop album from the last 20 years, chances are it was made using an MPC. Fast forward to 2015, and a company called Native Instruments has released the iMaschine app for iPhone. The app costs £2.99, and turns the iPhone into a virtual MPC. The app allows users to create music anywhere (mobile), and if you are particularly proud of your creation, you have the option to upload the track directly to Soundcloud from your phone (social). If recording samples isn’t your thing, you can purchase a variety of sounds from the in-app store and download them directly to your phone (cloud). User demands from their technology for flexibility in music creation and access to new data and sounds led to significant changes to not only how we consume music (think iTunes, Spotify etc), but also how that music is created.

Akai and iMaschine

Moving closer to home, over the past five weeks I have been working on one of our accounts on a Service Improvement initiative to establish a ‘tech bar’. Although the solution goes by various names, at its heart this initiative was born out of the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce, giving users increased flexibility and provides instant support for their device. Proposed as a drop-in service, users will be able to have their device supported and repaired whenever it suits them during the working day, rather than relying on an engineer to come to them. This will not be the first site where such a solution has been implemented by Computacenter, as I was able to visit three other sites for inspiration. This trend reveals that consumers are demanding more from their IT service providers, they want to be able to work from anywhere and be supported when it suits them. Computacenter has been very successful in meeting these demands – customer satisfaction was extremely high at every site I visited. I look forward to seeing the tech bar I have been working on being implemented in the near future!

As users are becoming more mobile, they are looking access information quickly and easily to enable them to continue working wherever they are. The demands they place on IT makes our industry one of the most exciting to work in, as we constantly need to be aware of the changing needs of our customers. At Computacenter we have been successful so far in meeting those needs in the solutions we provide, and it has been a thoroughly rewarding experience for me as an Associate to be involved with a project designed to improve the user experience.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to contact me on Twitter (@TomBatesonCC) with any thoughts, and make sure to tune in next month to hear from Glen Bridges, one of our Sales Associates.

Tom Bateson

Service Management Associate

Digital Natives in the Contemporary Workplace

Allow me to introduce you to the Digital Native. This type of user is the latest disruptor to business and IT, but also the source of much future opportunity.  We are in the midst of a “quad generation” working population for the first time in history, and many perceive the “Digital Native” to be the most recent generation, defined specifically by age range.

At Computacenter, we take a slightly different view. Digital Natives are not necessarily defined by age. It’s hard to argue that younger generations have an advantage in terms of both aptitude and attitude towards technology, almost all of us are moving along the spectrum that spans from Digital Novice to Digital Native.

As we consider how we service both the Digital Novice, the Digital Native and all of us in-between. Three things are increasingly important and shape how we evolve the Contemporary Workplace. Experience, Behaviour and Context.

  • Experience – relates to the outcomes that we’re delivering to our users and customers. It increasingly needs to deliver “any-ness” – allowing people and business to engage on any device, in any location and at any time. It also needs to be collaborative, personal to the user, and intuitive. Users no longer expect to be given the same black box as the person sat next to them; that might not fit their needs, and furthermore what they are given should just work with minimal instruction and training
  • Behaviour – relates to why people behave and interact with technology, and people in various ways. The Digital Native will increasingly leverage technology as the basis for their interactions – preferring web-chat to telephone, preferring video conference to face to face meetings. As we move more towards being digitally native we lose the shackles of our previous understanding of technology (Phones that used to have wires, expensive dial-up internet) and are liberated to look at how technology can best support and enable us
  • Context – Finally, this reflects the physicality of our work. From the redesign of our workspaces to be more optimised for our needs, we cater better for the mobile as well as the fixed worker and provide all the capabilities – from physical locations and capabilities through to the software-defined technologies that allow us to work, however, wherever, whenever suits us best

We have seen ourselves how enhancing our Contemporary Workplace can better support our increasingly Digital Native workforce. With our Next Generation Service Desk we have provided an intuitive, online service for our users to interact with for IT incidents and requests – exploiting web-chat, self-service and automation. Our Enterprise Mobility solution has equipped our roaming users with modern mobile technology that provides secure and reliable access to our corporate systems and data wherever they are. And this allows us to continually review and enhance our workspaces and habitats to best suit the needs of our users

It doesn’t stop there, the “SMAC stack” and Digital are only just starting to open the opportunities for us to develop and enhance the services and experience we can provide to our users and customers.

Until next time

Paul