There has been a quiet revolution in the way we work. Certainly five if not ten years ago the world of business IT was a simpler one at least for administrators. Full Time Employees (FTEs) were given their Windows PC (laptop if lucky), their Blackberry, their Outlook, Office and Sharepoint accounts and their VPN access. Personal preference played no part. External contributors, associates and freelancers were asked to contribute as best they could. They could not access the VPN, they could not share in creative and planning tools. Basically they worked separately and connected through email and attachments.
The history of Bring Your Own Device is well-told. We all know that Apple broke the stranglehold of both Blackberry and Microsoft on the devices people wanted to use for work. But less often considered is the parallel revolution in the tools people used to get work done. Dropbox was so much easier to use than a file server on a VPN. Google Docs was so much better at collaborating and creating documents than Windows AND it worked on my Apple or Ubuntu machine. Yammer, to give them credit, brought a cloud-based collaboration VPN to businesses.
And the flexibility in these tools delivered not just an ability to work more easily in a remote location but also to be more flexible in employment status. In the consulting world this is especially interesting and beneficial. As we have discussed elsewhere consultancies can much more easily create ‘benches’ of highly skilled but loosely connected talent than they can bring to the field on specific projects.
Dude, where’s my IP?
In all this rush to greater flexibility though there are a couple of interesting trends that have emerged. In speaking to our clients in the consulting industry, where there is an IT administrator he is weeping salt tears at the lack of control while the rest of us revel in apps where someone has put a bird on it. However what can get lost in all of this freedom is the rather simple but hugely important concept of who and what is taking control of the creative assets that the consultancy generates - often referred to as the IP.
Are any of these familiar scenarios for your business?
- important information is shared in Dropbox or similar on a private account and the individual leaves the business?
- information important to and technically belonging to the consultancy sits in individual email and file-sharing accounts?
- there either does not exist or no-one uses any shared repository, file server, corporate Dropbox or any other attempt at getting people to ‘check-in’ documentation.
- the increasing mixture of associates as well as full time employees means there is no single online for people to collaborate, share then store output. No-one is sure where anything is happening!
Relax, you are not alone. If our consultancy clients are anything to go by the dissonance of wanting to3 encourage flexibility yet requiring control of the output is extremely common. And BCSocial can help - there are extensive support articles to find out how that you can find here.
Why will people adopt BCSocial when they won’t adopt anything else.
Adoption is difficult and mandating solutions is even more difficult for reasons already discussed in this article.
So how do our users get around it?Well the answer is that we are not setting out to solve the repository or storage challenge. We are providing a place for growing businesses to get together to work, create and share the output. We give the same level of access and tools to associates and partners and only differentiate as far as security requires. The ability to track, retain and store IP is a by-product of creating a great online workplace. A few minutes is all that is required to set up a BCSocial workplace that at least initially reflects your business with the right project, groups, customers and people on board. After that we are there to help you make the leap to the kind of flexible workplace that will keep you connected to your staff and to your IP.