With cloud-based technology, you can use a similar system to just-in-time training where you turn your customer into your technician. You simply tell them to put on the camera headband that came with the equipment. Then your master technician can direct the customer where to look, what to open, what to touch, etc. Now you’re using the customer as your eyes, ears, and hands in real time, servicing them anywhere in the world. This simple technology can save the company tremendous amounts of time and money, all while helping the customer immediately.
Realize that using cloud-based technology for just-in-time services goes way beyond repair. It could be used to train people on new software, train salespeople on product upgrades, instruct employees on new policies and procedures, etc. And it’s different and better than a standard tutorial, because the training can be accessed via any device, anywhere, and at anytime … and it offers an option for live help. Think of it like a help desk on steroids.
So, in reality, the applications for cloud-based, just-in-time services are virtually limitless.
While this may seem like an HR initiative, it’s really up to the CIO to spearhead the effort. Remember that anytime you talk about the use of technology, the initiative has to be driven by the people who understand what can be done. So even though HR would use this technology, they would never drive the initiative because they don’t know what’s technically possible. Therefore, it’s up to the CIO.
But this is a good thing, because by driving technologies such as this, the CIO adds strategic value to the organization. Anytime you can look at the future and the evolution of technology and see what can be done or how to use technology to increase efficiency, lower costs, or provide new products and services, you’ll be viewed as a highly-valued member of the C-suite.
Processing power on demand
The increased bandwidth that our mobile devices now receive enables us to connect to the cloud-based technologies easier and faster than ever before. And one thing we know about bandwidth is that it will continue to increase. Because of this, we’ll soon be able to take advantage of another trend that I call processing power on-demand, or virtualized processing power.
We have already virtualized so many things it only makes sense, that processing power will be virtualized, too. In other words, a mobile device only has a certain amount of processing power. But if you can tap into additional processing power via cloud-based technology, you can turn your mobile device into a super computer where you can do advanced simulations and crunch different data streams together to get real time analytics. Now your handheld device is as powerful and advanced as your desktop.
Imagine the increase in productivity if each of your company’s employees had the capability to do complex work that required advanced processing power while they were on the road, armed with nothing more than their mobile device. What would that shift do to your company’s bottom line?
Creative application of technology
For both of these trends and others to fully emerge, CIOs have to consider what their people would do with the technology. It’s no longer enough to just deploy technology; CIOs also need to consider how they can creatively apply the technology to their company in order to gain competitive advantage.
This is certainly a major mindset shift for many organizations, since most CIOs and IT departments have historically been viewed as the implementers. But today, that’s not enough. You need to show the C-suite how you can creatively apply any technology and maximize its use. Therefore, you need to go to your internal customers (all the people using the technology in the enterprise) and ask what they want technologically.
By all means, give them what they ask for, but realize that they will under-ask because they don’t know what’s technically possible. So while you want to listen to what people in the organization are asking for realize that what they’re not asking for is the bigger and better capabilities — the things they don’t even know are possible.
The key is to go to the next level and give people the ability to do what they currently can’t do, but would want to do, if they only knew they could. After all, people really didn’t ask for an iPhone or a Blackberry. The hidden need was the ability to access their email and internet without being tied to their desktop or laptop. Similarly, people didn’t ask for an iPad or for app-driven TV, but that’s where we’re going because someone is asking what would people really want to do.