Marten Bütow
16. January 2018 0

Digital transformation – The Snickers phenomenon

I tend to get a bit peckish in the office in the late afternoon.  Or when I’m on the move I can sometimes realize too late that I’ve skipped lunch again. So I take a trip to the nearest snack vending machine and get myself a Snickers or a bag of nuts. You might say that all that represents “established technology.”

I’m well aware that it’s not exactly the ideal solution from a nutritional point of view, but there really is nothing to be said against it from a functional point of view: coins in, Snickers out, hunger sated. Though I might sometimes go for a second helping – if I have enough change. I tell myself I can still afford to add a little to my relatively modest love handles.

From the snack to the PC

Now let’s just imagine that this “principle of convenience” could be applied to the digital workplace … wouldn’t that be a digital transformation par excellence? And an amazing user experience? Not long ago, for example, a colleague of mine accidentally emptied his coffee cup over my keyboard (it could happen to a saint!). But the keyboard was destroyed.  Awkward. To put it in business terms, it caused a reduction in productivity. After an hour of asking around and firing off e-mails, I finally found a colleague who had a spare keyboard secreted in a cabinet.

The digital transformation and getting a brand new workstation.

A vending machine for workplace devices would have got me back on track a lot faster. Wouldn’t it be just great to have a central location at which my desktop service provider made replacement equipment available? A deposit in which the most often needed replacements are stored, including mice and keyboards, but perhaps complete laptops and cell phones as well. Using my company ID or a specialist smart card, I could open a locker (on which a green LED shines up at me) from which I could then extract a new laptop, deposit my old wreck in its place, and close it up again. A red light now indicates that the locker now contains a returned item. The cost of the new device would be debited directly from the appropriate cost center (once the appropriate person has approved the new device via an app).

I connect the new machine up to the network, insert my smart card and it connects up to the network automatically. The applications and data I need are provided by the cloud backend (where they were already before things started going wrong with the old machine). That would be quick and simple, and would be entirely governed by an established standard process. Complex in the background, but easy at the front; a self-service process providing excellent customer experience – exactly what we are expected to provide in the era of digital transformation.

An employee of the service provider (or a subcontracted logistics service) then comes by once a week to take away the old devices and to refill the snack machine,  … I mean the PC lockers … with fresh replacements.  Following internal business standards, of course.

Reduced costs and improved user experience.

This would not just reduce service costs, but would also – even more importantly – improve user experience dramatically. In emergencies, the user can get help immediately and is back up and running in double quick time. The complexity of the provision system and management is kept entirely behind the scenes. And users only have to take care of stuff that they are quite comfortable with. To take the new device, deposit the old one, insert the power cable and put the card in the slot. It’s not rocket science.

On the topic of visions for the future: such processes in the digital transformation of the workplace can already be implemented effortlessly in a dynamic workplace. We have recently set the concept up for a customer. So that they could satisfy that familiar peckishness for a new device.

However, the rumor that we have impending plans to deploy a little army of robots to fetch and return the affected devices is something I’m afraid I have to deny (for the moment, anyway).

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