… was actually insightful.
In my last post I told you that my laptop died just before I left on a business trip. While waiting for my flight at the airport, I whipped off several emails to colleagues who were able to forward my final presentations to both my phone (so I could prep) and to the conference organizers. Chalk one up for mobile email.
Mobile email has its limits though. First, IBM only gives me access to about a week’s worth of mail on my iPhone. This made access to historical data to answer questions impossible. On the flip side, the small screen made it cumbersome to scroll through even a week’s worth of mail. If I didn’t answer it right away, I found it got lost after a few hours. And it was next to impossible to write anything of length. While I can work the keyboard on the iPhone just fine, it’s just too hard to maintain a flow when you can only see a couple of lines of text at a time. (I bet the iPad is better for this.)
But the real source of frustration was the lack of real time collaborative tools. While IBM will push email and calendar changes directly to my phone, IBM has Sametime behind the firewall. Since I rarely use Sametime on my phone, I let my pilot iPhone VPN credentials expire in favor of a sales person who might use it every day. Noble, right?
Except now I couldn’t get on the VPN, couldn’t access Sametime and had my communication options limited to email and the phone. For a lot of people, email and the phone are the only ways they do business. I, however, am used to being able to find people and get answers to questions now. Not when someone gets around to reading their email and after they reply to 20 other things. Immediately. The act of obtaining a replacement MacBook would have normally taken me 30 minutes. (Mac’s aren’t standard issue so getting one in IBM still requires a couple of extra hoops.) Four days later I was still working the issue on the phone from the Reno airport. More importantly, in between speaking sessions and meetings, I was working with multiple teams to meet a large customer’s unique need. The customer needed a response ASAP and I felt like I was working in slow motion with one arm tied behind my back.
I realize this is all anecdotal, but for all the organizations out there that haven’t adopted real-time collaborative / unified communications tools because you think they are time wasters or wouldn’t fit into your business… think again. In all likelihood, your competition is using them to be faster and better than you. They always say you never know what you have until its gone. May I never be without Sametime again.