7 principles for transforming technology devices in the workplace

Arif Harbott
Arif Harbott

Seven principles to transform the technology devices and tools that users have to support them to do incredible work.

Employees often have superfast Wi-Fi and the latest devices at home, but have to put up with creaking PCs and snail-paced connections in the office.

We want to provide technology that’s at least as good as what they have at home, so they can work in modern, flexible and collaborative ways.

Out with the old

At the moment it can take staff a long time just to log on, which can involve layers of encryption and multiple passwords.

Desktops are well past their prime and heavily locked down, therefore staff can’t take advantage of the latest browsers, software and apps.

There are no tools for instant messaging, video conferencing and collaborating on documents.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Our vision for the future

Our staff should have:

  • Fast technology devices with invisible security
  • Collaboration and messaging tools to support remote and mobile working
  • Up to date software
  • A curated choice of modern devices to suit different needs

We developed a set of principles to guide our architecture and thinking:

  1. Solutions based on user needs
  2. Proportionate security
  3. Embrace continual renewal
  4. Controlled diversity
  5. Mobility first
  6. Permanence of information with transient devices
  7. Working software hardware is the primary measure of progress

Principle 1 – Solutions based on user needs

The team will build solutions around user needs, without being tied down by legacy architecture or existing contracts.

One specific need is getting access to your work data on your personal device. To solve this need we will support bring your own device (BYOD). In addition, this also benefits the organisation as we will need to buy fewer devices.

Principle 2 – Proportionate security

Security should be proportionate, and not get in the way of your work.

The majority of our users will move from three logins to just one simple pin. Those with newer devices will start to utilise biometric logins such as fingerprint and facial recognition. Meaning users will switch on and start working securely in seconds.

A security certificate on the machine provides invisible second factor authentication.

Principle 3 – Embrace continual renewal

Technology product owners will be accountable for improving employees’ day-to-day experience of using our hardware.

We will do this through continual renewal and improvement – rather than ‘big bang’ replacement programmes, which come around once in a blue moon.

Principle 4 – Controlled diversity

We will offer a curated choice of laptops, tablets, smartphones and operating systems. As we believe that there is no one size fits all.

These devices will be benchmarked for value and performance. Over time this will allow us to phase out more expensive, out of date devices.

Principle 5 – Mobility first

Employees are increasingly distributed around the country working remotely. Flexible working means less of our people are co-located in the same office every day.

To help people work effectively, we are introducing a range of tools to support mobility and remote collaboration:

  • real-time collaboration on spreadsheets and documents
  • instant messenger for one-to-one or group chats
  • high-quality video conferencing
  • screen-sharing and screen-casting
  • wikis for knowledge management

Principle 6 – Permanence of information with transient devices

Increasingly the devices we use are temporary but our information needs to be stored long after the device is discarded.

By utilising a cloud-first policy for email and documents, we have cheap, near infinite elastic storage for data archiving.

Furthermore, if you lose or break your device you can get to your files on another device right away.

Principle 7 – Working software hardware is the primary measure of progress

We borrowed from the agile manifesto, and extended it to technology infrastructure.

We are iterating the tools and hardware build in each sprint and measuring progress by the amount of work that is completed, tested and released to users.

What’s next

We don’t underestimate the size of the challenge. Deploying new technology and the cultural changes to ways of working at scale will need to be carefully planned and managed.

Much of our kit is old, and upgrading it is like doing heart surgery on someone running a marathon. There will also be a lot of business change to manage as users move to new tools and devices while needing to keep justice running smoothly.

However, it will be worth it.

Giving civil servants the right technology devices and tools will have a huge effect on productivity and mobility.

We want to create a smaller, smarter department where technology helps us do a great job, rather than being a barrier and source of frustration.

7 principles for transforming technology devices in the workplace
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