SUPPORTING EMPLOYEE-INTRODUCED APPS: 4 STEPS TO CONSIDER

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Employees don’t want to work at a company where the first word out of the IT guy or gal’s mouth is always “No.”  And, correspondingly, there’s not a single IT person in the world who wants to be the “yes man” (or woman)–  the three-letter word that causes IT policies to be thrown out the window.

Today, you’d expect a lot more No’s than Yes’ as the BYOA (bring-your-own app) trend continues. It’s especially true when you consider  70 percent of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorized programs resulted in half of their companies’ data loss incidents.

Before you go one way or another–  yes or no – to employee requests for app support, be proactive with your strategy and consider taking these steps:

1. Survey:  Using a free tool like surveymonkey.com, ask your employees what apps they’re using at work and at home to stay productive.  Knowing is half the battle. As long as their answers are kept anonymous, they’re likely to be honest with you.

2. Discuss:  Once you know the top apps being used, find out why. Be prepared: it may be your fault. Are they adopting cloud storage solutions because you’ve failed to provision a mobile VPN? Could be. Sit down and talk with your employees to figure out what’s caused them to go rogue.

3. Learn: Maybe that collaboration app your marketing team is using isn’t the worst thing to happen to your company’s data security. Heck, it could be protecting you. Get on the web, read the documentation and learn about the apps.

4. Make a plan: There’s no silver bullet to making a strategic IT decision about employee desires and requests, but remember: there’s a balance. Create a Plus/Minus/Interesting or “PMI” chart (invented by Edward DeBono). In the “Interesting” column write down anything that may not be obviously positive or negative, but could lead you to some new territory. At the end, you may have your answer.

The use of the collaboration app I discovered being used in Marketing last week…

Plus Minus Interesting
Employees happy (+4) Can’t manage it (-2) Positions me as an early-adopter (+4)
Increases productivity (+3) Doesn’t integrate with AD (-3)  CEO is on our Advisory Board (+3)
Encrypts files not usually encrypted  (+5) Requires company-wide training (-1)
May increase bandwidth usage (-2)
+12
-8
+7

When all is said it done, it’s IT’s choice and no one else’s. So, who do you want to be? The “yes (wo)man” or the “no (wo)man”?  What’s your approach for getting there?

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Oh, hey. I’m fundraising.

jimmy fund walk, beat cancer

Post-Labor Day blues?

Well, if you want to get technical, summer doesn’t end until September 21st so don’t throw in the (beach) towel just yet.  (That’s why I’m savoring the most summery picture I have of myself). But, let’s get down to business…

A friend of mine recently asked me to join her in the Jimmy Fund 13.5 Mile Walk on September 9th, a walk which she does annually in memory of her mother. I agreed as I believe there are very few things more important than continuing to support cancer research and the direct care of those patients.

This year I am energized to support this cause in particular as a way of supporting family and friends where cancer has also crept unexpectedly into their lives in 2013.

If you have a moment, I’d love whatever support you can offer-  even $10 or $20 will make a huge difference for me. They’ve made it extremely easy to donate and only takes about a minute:  http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/2013/kevinaries

Thank you so much in advance,

Kevin

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“It’s a walk off”

20130901-124328.jpgOutside of (the usual) sorting through of 1,000,000,000 emails, this work-week brought on a new challenge: a “pedometer challenge.”

Pedometer challenges as a way to encourage employees to be active aren’t anything new to the workplace. Companies like Virgin, Lockeed Martin and even the White House have all done their own, as evidenced by a quick Google search on the matter.

It’s popularity isn’t wholly surprising given surveys have shown 70% of workers believe health and wellness programs positive impact company culture, resulting in higher productivity, profitability and decreased sick days.

My company managed to get a stylish but cheap version with branding.

Colleagues have joked about putting it on their cat’s collar and have even wondered if “twerking” counts toward steps. Needless to say, this competition is going to be interesting. I’ll report back with results.

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Being 2013

Being 2013

Sometimes you don’t realize just how….well, cool technology is.

This week in just a regular run-of-the-mill meeting, all of my colleagues (who happen to be all under the age of 35) all sat down with our laptops.

There was a projector above us. Did we use it? Not a chance. We all joined the meeting using my company’s meeting software and -boom- we were instantly connected.

Ok, ok… so I know this isn’t new news to anyone. But, I didn’t realize we’ve already replaced the new projector my company just bought for not-a-small-penny.

Times are changing.

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What’s an ewok?

I have something embarrassing to say…

I’ve never seen a Star Wars. Ever. Not any of them.

I know what R2D2 is: he’s a robot. And I know Yoda looks like a cross between Oscar the Grouch and E.T. (oh, by the way… I’ve never seen E.T. in its entirety). But, no, I’ve never seen any of the Star Wars movies.

Lately, this “fact” about me has surfaced amongst co-workers and friends and the conclusion is: something is seriously wrong with me. Others have wondered if I was abused as a child– that answer is an obvious “no”, unless you count the fact I thought I was neglected because I was never allowed to have a puppy. So what’s the story? The truth is until this week I just I didn’t know. So I had to go to my Dad to seek the truth. Here’s how the conversation went (slightly dramatized).

Me: Dad?
Dad: Yes son?
Me: I have something to ask you.
Dad: Ok…
Me: It’s about my childhood.
Dad: [silence] Go ahead.
Me: Why didn’t we ever watch Star Wars?
Dad:  “Neither your mother and I were fans. We just didn’t watch it or make you watch it.”

Solid answer.

So, there you go. Apples don’t fall far from the trees. So, will I watch it if you bring over your boxed-set and a big bag of microwave popcorn tonight? The answer is, no. It’s now officially a family tradition that we don’t watch Star Wars.

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Couch: it’s been real.

Here’s something new:  imagine a world where couches have to come into a house from a 4-story window, and couches need to come out of a house by chopping it up into 4 different pieces.

The recipe of old, Boston brownstones with small, windy staircases and doorways make moving everyday furniture a full-weekend ordeal. Don’t believe me? Here’s the photographic play-by-play from my weekend:

Time to take a nap…

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Gym tips I live by

1. If you don’t want to, don’t go. A forced gym trip will only result in an unmotivated workout. What’s better? Staying home, eating a healthy meal, and catching up on sleep so you can rock the gym tomorrow.

2. Eat power snacks.  Call it counter-productive (it’s not),  but eating a mix of carbs with protein is the perfect energy source. I live by yogurt with almonds or granola, fruits (bananas & oranges) and cheese and crackers.

3. Splurge on the membership. $70-a-month gym memberships only seem expensive until you can accept the fact that we spend $70 in one night at the bar. While the $10-a-month gyms are easy on the wallet, a nicer gym complete with towels, shampoo, body wash and conditioner is easier on the eyes and provides much more motivation for me to go.

4. Don’t plan any days off.  “Off” days happen naturally, so I plan for all 7 days. If you plan to go everyday, you will only go 5 or 6. If you plan to go 5 or 6 days a week, you will only go 3 or 4 days. If you plan to go 3 or 4 days a week….   you get it, right?

6. Take a class. If my gym has a class that interests me, I take it. It’s a daunting task to go to a class as a newbie, but classes- like “Bootcamp”-  kick my ass in ways I didn’t know my ass could be kicked.

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