Plan Is Not A Dirty Four Letter Word.

By Kevin Laahs

Part 9 of “Connect Us” – A Series on Connectedness

A great friend and ex-colleague of mine (a certain Mr Donald Livengood from HP) recently posted on his Facebook page the following words:-

“plan” a dirty four letter word for many teenagers.

Of course this is a frustration faced by all parents ever since life began but probably even more so these days given the ease of engaging in instant communications through multiple mechanisms. Yet “I couldn’t get in touch with you” is still uttered with a straight face by many (and not only teenagers I may add!). After I had stopped laughing I began to think about how even with the almost ubiquitous ways of communicating that we have available, so often things go wrong and we fail to meet our objectives. We may communicate but we do not always understand. And I believe that a primary culprit for this is bad planning. Well not bad as such but more incomplete planning – the lack of a comprehensive plan that covers almost every eventuality.

And so in this the penultimate article in the Connect Us series I consider how a well-executed connectivity plan is crucial in order to continually improve the way that you  connect with your clients and employees.

Many organizations are spending time these days planning their Mobility Strategy with mobility being a key trend that enables greater connectivity. Much effort is given to considering the devices and applications that you will use to reach your clients and support your employees. However you should also be considering how you can gain a better understanding of exactly how people are communicating and the circumstances in which they do so in order that you can plan for engaging with them in the most appropriate and unambiguous ways (“I sent you a text” doesn’t mean the receiving party got or understood said text!). To me this is much more than just considering devices and applications – you need a connectivity plan that covers the widest picture possible, that connects with and keeps your clients and employees engaged and that has a backup for every eventuality. And this is not a one-off plan as you should never be done with thinking about how you can better engage and connect with your people – your connectivity plan should be ever improving and ever evolving.

You can gain a lot of insight into the way people are behaving through the many data points that are available to you from devices, mobile applications and web applications. Leveraging these can help you understand exactly what people are doing and, more importantly, why. This can then help you improve the experience you provide. I can give you a real life example of this that happened just last night. A group of us were returning from a most enjoyable evening at the Edinburgh Festival and needed to catch the last train just before midnight. With the ticket office being closed we could not engage in a synchronous conversation with a human being to explain our needs and so our experience of the service was through a touch screen ticket machine.

The application that was running on the ticket machine was proudly promoting the “best” tickets – a day return ticket since, normally, this is the cheapest and therefore “best”. None of us required this since we couldn’t possibly complete a day return given that we were starting our outward journey just before the day ended. Buying a single ticket through the application was, how can I put it, less than obvious and indeed resulted in us all have the pleasure of waving the last train goodbye rather than being seated on it. I’m confident that if the people that supply the service analyse how the application is being used then they would be able to figure out that at certain times of the day a single ticket would be the most obvious “best” choice to offer someone and result in a much better experience for the customer.

How are your connectivity plans shaping up?

Source: Kevin Laahs

Kevin Laahs

Kevin Laahs is an independent technology strategist
who advises companies on their IT strategies in the primary areas of Enterprise Mobility and Workplace.

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