Had a client presentation the other day where we were reporting out on an assessment we did of the client’s infrastructure and IT processes. The client asked us what presentation materials we would need, and we simply said we needed a large screen and we would bring the projector. When we arrived, we were taken to a very nice conference room that was about 15’ x 30’. At one end was a very nice 42” plasma screen. We were told we could use that screen, there was not a larger one in the room. We hooked up and away we went. Problem was, if you were in the back of the room, you couldn’t read what was on the screen. Yes you could see it, but you couldn’t read it. Good thing we had handouts as well.
This happens all the time. Organizations deploy technology (the 42” plasma screen with all the bells and whistles), without thinking through how it will be used. I am sure everyone in the organization was very excited to have the latest and greatest technology at their disposal, until someone at the back of the room actually had to try to read the screen.
We made it through the presentation and averted disaster, but I kept thinking: how could it have been better? A larger screen could have been used, or they could have placed the screen on the 30’ wall, but that would have meant blocking a window (to the lobby); possibly having multiple screens available. Maybe there were some hook-ups in/under the table that you could plug in to so you could see it on your laptop? If there were, no one in the room knew about it. It was obvious no one thought to ask how the technology was going to be used, and if the technology being deployed was appropriate. After all, it was only a conference room, and anyone can figure out what to do there. How often do we make that assumption?
So, how do you improve situations like this? It’s easy. When deploying even the simplest technology, make sure you understand how the user intends to utilize it, and work with them to make sure they are using it to optimize both the technology and the user’s process. Simple conversations that take a little bit of time will go a long way toward better alignment with the business.
Let me know your thoughts!