Notes vs. Outlook vs. Open — “Thanks but, no thanks.”

I’ve wondered if there has ever been a human resources study or survey that correlated an enterprise’s internal communications platform with job satisfaction. Are Notes users happier or unhappier than Exchange users? Has a job candidate ever turned down a job offer because he or she hates a company’s IT architecture?

I wonder how many people engage with a company and ask, as part of their personal due diligence, whether or not a company permits access to a personal POP3 mail account? If the company supports Pylon synchronization with Treos?

I wonder how many people have subconsciously slipped into the despair of job dissatisfaction due to overly restrictive IT policies, or just a general hatred of the systems driving communications. I’m not asking due to personal issues.

I heard a podcast interview with Tim O’Reilly when he spoke about the phenomenon of developers running two systems at their desks. The “official” corporate machine, and their own notebook with their own favorite apps, bridging the two environments with sneaker-net or email files back and forth through a web mail account. This seems to be the classic story of the PC. Machines sneak in the door, under the IT department’s radar, and eventually, the users begin to self-select the apps and tools they need. I suspect for high end users, those tools are Open in nature and regarded as high security risks by the CSO.

Case in point. I live on my email account. It is the one most constant variable in my contact information and people have been trained for the past ten years that they can always communicate with me at that address. Off the corporate net it works wonderfully with a Thunderbird client. In the office, on the corporate lan, I can fetch mail for the account but due to security restrictions on SMTP all my replies have to simmer until I get off the network and onto the public networks. A minor irrritation, but an irritation nevertheless.

I somehow picture a gang of angry cubicle drones pulling an “Office Space” and setting their most hated corporate apps on fire in the parking lot.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Notes vs. Outlook vs. Open — “Thanks but, no thanks.””

  1. >>The “official” corporate machine, and their own notebook with their own favorite apps, briding the two environments with through sneaker-net or email files back and forth through a web mail account.>>
    Dave this is the exact history of corp Mac usage in many large companies including G.E.


  2. The process of how most of these corporate applications are developed is one where requirements are gathered in terms of functions rather than understanding human interactions in the context of a process environment.

    I’ve often wished that applications were developed first “on the glass” before any programming was to occur. Work on the interface and how it should be iterated to conform to how a human naturally expects to accomplish things. Design the environment rather than the function.

    This would naturally require flexibility in how each individual would approach the interface to perform activities, but that is what humans do.

  3. I agree Jim. I see an interesting trend of the inmates dictating terms to the IT jailors through insistence on multi-mobile device support — “What do you mean I can’t use my treo and have to use a Blackberry?” “why can’t I save the company money by using Skype?”

    I suspect the Outlook/Notes dichotomy is even more fierce. I know that my productivity soars on my apps, and not the ones generally provided to me.

  4. I think the tools supplied to most users are sufficient and in most cases an overkill. The fact of the matter is that no one asked the users opinion, nor should it be listened to most of the time. They don’t understand the big picture of security, swelling IT budgets and risk taking from a technical standpoint. If I could create an IT policy that would make them stop complaining and just do their job, productivity would probably increase by 10-20%.

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