John Mason, CIO, Bottomline Technologies
IT departments are historically known for being the early adopters of technology in any organization, and my team is no exception. Tablets, smartphones, any kind of wearable technology—we all have it the minute it hits the market, as excited as little kids on Christmas morning. This fascination with the latest and greatest goes well beyond just the fun of having a new ‘toy’ to play with however. It is important for CIOs to actively encourage the adoption of the best and most innovative new technologies throughout the organization because doing so leads to several very important benefits for the company. For one thing, exposure to the best emerging technologies sets the bar for product teams and challenges them to make sure product roadmaps are as innovative as they need to be to meet the growing demands of customers. Empowering the workforce with the newest technology also significantly increases their productivity and enables them to be responsive to customers no matter where they are.
Think Like the Best: Embracing New Technology Trends to Meet Customer Needs
When the first iPad was released in 2010, we gave one to Senior Management and Product Managers with a simple challenge: Make our products as easy to use and powerful as these new devices. From that moment on, iPads were our benchmark, an exceptional example of how user experience can change the game. It marked a turning point for Bottomline. We hadn’t needed to think like that before. Many of our customers, especially those in the banking and insurance spaces, were happy working with legacy systems, blinking green cursors and all. That was fine for the time, but if we had allowed ourselves to continue to design for the lowest common denominator, we would have been left in the dust as the market matured and customers began demanding business technology that worked more like what they were used to in their personal lives. It was only by embracing new technology trends that we were able to move our business forward. That paradigm shift in the way Bottomline approached new technology has touched every area of our business. All of our product roadmaps now focus heavily on the user experience and we’ve built a team focused on user experience and adaptive design. We no longer conduct ‘demos’ but instead encourage ’test drives’ where potential customers can navigate through our products on their own. To create the best products and solutions it’s important to think like the best and that strategy has really paid off for Bottomline.
Empowering a Mobile Workforce
For the longest time, the mantra of ‘work/life balance’ was a huge focus for organizations. The concept that workers should conduct business from 9-5, then leave the office behind at the end of the day. I believe that we’re now at a point of 'work/ life intersection’. Because mobile devices enable people to work from anywhere, the lines between business and personal life have been blurred. To make this shift mutually beneficial for companies and their employees, CIOs must encourage the use of a single device for work and personal use. Employees consider it a bonus to have a phone and service provided for them, but companies benefit as well because staff is always available when they’re needed the most, such as when an issue with a customer arises. For a company like Bottomline, where customer delight is a core value, that level of availability and accessibility is critical.
Productivity has also increased exponentially since encouraging workers to adopt the latest mobile technology. Global companies often have a workforce that’s always on the move. Employees travel frequently and work from a mixture of home offices, small regional offices, larger corporate offices and customer sites across many countries. To support this mobility while achieving the highest levels of productivity, CIOs need to realize the importance of reducing downtime. As a global company with 1,300 employees worldwide and office in the U.S., EMEA and Asia-Pac, Bottomline has taken a number of steps to ensure staff have a seamless mobile experience, including:
► Making sure all employees have instant wireless access
at any office they visit
► Enabling wireless access for all traveling employees
► Encouraging Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), provided
every device be secured and encrypted with Bottomline
The result is employees who are more engaged because they can easily do whatever they need to do—work or personal when they need to do it, without the constraints of a typical office environment. It’s a win all around, especially for customers.
The reality of business today is that mobile technology is a way of life. Smart CIOs will encourage their workforce to adopt the latest advances in mobile technology, taking advantage of the huge opportunity it offers for more innovating product roadmaps, increased workforce productivity and greater customer satisfaction.