It was only a few years ago that anything provided by that mythical world of ‘enterprise’ was a hundred times better than the cheap ‘n’ horrible thing you could afford at home. From laptops to PDAs and phones, enterprise level stuff was solid, reliable and generally better than the gubbins PC World flogged to you.
But just look at the stuff that passes for enterprise grade tech. these days…
When the Work Laptop (a not-state-of-the-art but BRAND-NEW and faster thing by-Dell) was thrust into my possession for a presentation (or some other mildly tedious exercise), it highlighted just how different the stock business technology experience is today.
It was TERRIBLE. I mean just AWFUL, from every conceivable design standpoint. The touch-pad was ‘stone age’, lacked any semblance of multi-touch and was both too small and somehow in the wrong place. The keyboard bowed and creaked like a old boat at sea. The chasis was cheap-jack-plastic dressed as the bastard son of a gaming laptop and a floor tile. The ergonomics made my whole upper body ache in a way that I still can’t understand (I mean it’s just a flat surface with keys like all the other ones, surely?)
It was obviously all knocked out at a ‘price’ with a barely fleeting regard to the user experience and I can only assume that this particular model exists purely because ‘dinosaur’ IT Departments continue to purchase tired and dated old rubbish to roll-out in the same way they always have done.
I couldn’t wait to give it back.
Even today’s ‘better’ IT Departments have a nasty habit of assuming that employees take scant interest in the quality of their user experience (and will know of nothing better if given a sub-standard bit of kit).
But things HAVE changed.
When I get backhome I know I can very quickly and easily check email, news, weather and then write, plan and design stuff (and so much more) on an iPad.
The juxtaposition of using a modern laptop and an iPad was stunning. The iPad is just pleasure to use. Instant, speedy and beautiful with every millimeter oozing in design thought and attention to detail.
I can almost achieve in seconds what would torture me for hours on that hideous Dell monstrosity. (Sure, I will need a ‘proper’ computer to do some tasks – but I don’t WANT to use that PC if at all possible! It is just a specialist tool, like a lathe or a band saw.)
As more and more individuals experience the power of iPads (as well as the ‘cloud’ and other ‘Post PC’ devices), you can sense a wonderful change in our relationship, experience and confidence with technology.
New people are using AND enjoying these devices every single day. They are achieving things they would think ‘impossible’ of themselves only months ago (and without the pre-requisite training and support that has dominated the previous generations of ‘tech’ usage). Such a thing must be anathema to those continuing with the backwards-compatible-training-course minded ‘old’ style of operation.
‘Enterprise’ is no longer the ‘gatekeeper’ to accessing the leading edge of technology. And what a joy this will be for the humble technology users of the future!
The ‘old’ enterprise pillars of security, backwards compatibility and ease of support are crippling some businesses that really need to embrace the ‘post-pc’ world with its newfangled data ‘clouds’ and the devices that come with them.
The move to these ‘simpler’ (but just as secure and productive) ways of computing IS going to happen, EVEN in the most un-willing of enterprises. Slowly at first, for sure, but it will happen.