The word “innovative” is tossed around so frequently these days that it’s becoming downright ubiquitous. Every startup seems to be “innovative,” which, while this may be true for each company in its own way, the word is starting to lose its meaning. Good ideas come from everywhere in companies, from the 21-year-old intern to the 65-year-old almost retiree. Having a CEO who listens to everyone in the company is crucial to making sure good ideas don’t slip through the cracks.
At LocknCharge, we recently did a hackathon to drive internal innovation. We broke into groups of 5-6 people each, and each group had 60 minutes to brainstorm and write a presentation on a new and innovative product for LocknCharge that doesn’t currently exist… yet. We learned quickly that seeking insight from every area of the business is of utmost importance. Because of our success with in-house innovation, we thought we’d share some advice on driving innovation in your company:
- Encourage employees to speak up about their ideas in things like hackathons, innovation forums, or even simply 1:1 meetings. No idea should be considered outlandish, stupid, or silly. “Employees universally feel safer going with the status quo than attempting innovation, because it’s less likely to lead to visible errors. So if you want employees to experiment, they have to know that their innovative efforts will be free from repercussion,” says Micah Solomon in an article for Forbes.
- Leaders should practice what they preach. If you want to have employees who are innovators, they should have leaders who set a good example in that way. You should also have managers who empower their employees; two of Google’s 8 Qualities of Great Managers are that they empower their team and don’t micro-manage, and that they’re good communicators and they listen to the team.
- Think ahead of your competitors. It’s easy to get into your own way of doing things and not worry about the competition–however, if you are encouraging your employees to be innovative, you will always be a few steps ahead.
- Dare to do what’s never been done before. Taking calculated risks is all a part of business, and you never know if a failed idea could turn into something better. Take the story of Slack, for instance, which started out of a failed project and turned into a $1B company in a matter of a few years.
- Have an authentic company culture. Employees won’t feel motivated if they feel like they’re working somewhere phony. Work with HR to foster a company culture that feels real, and where the employees feel as much as part of the success of the company as the CEO. A survey by Deloitte in 2016 found that “millennials place a strong emphasis on their personal values when choosing a potential employer, with 56% ruling out working for certain organizations. Even if you have the best of the best applying at your company, if they don’t fit the culture you won’t see the expected returns in the long run.”
- Treat your employees with respect. Employees who don’t feel like they are respected are less likely to come forward with new ideas; and they might just leave and take their ideas and talents somewhere they do.
At LocknCharge, we are proud to call ourselves an innovative company – and were recently recognized as Madison’s Most Innovative Company 2018! If you’d like to get to know us better, visit us online here.
UK News | South Shields, UK
With its reputation as one of the ‘top 50 most improved specialist schools’ in the UK, along with its position as one of 12 outstanding schools serving disadvantaged communities (by Ofsted* 2009), it is clear why pupils fight hard to get a place at Harton Academy.
Originally founded in 1885 (as South Shields High School), Harton Academy undertook a dramatic renovation project in 2010 as part of the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) initiative, including completion of a £25 million construction project on a new Technology and Sixth Form Building holding specially designed DT (design technology), Math and Science sections.
The mixed secondary school and sixth form is based in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. Since being rated ‘Outstanding’ in 2006 by Ofsted, the school has received three Government Achievement Awards, with its executive Head Teacher, Ken Gibson, knighted as part of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honours list for 2013 on the grounds of ‘excellence in administrating education.’ It was again rated as ‘Outstanding’ in an Ofsted inspection in January 2013.
With around 1600 students at Harton Academy, the goal of this project was to make devices as accessible as possible to all students, whilst retaining total control over security and ensuring the safety of devices, protecting them from theft and damage.
AT A GLANCE
The school needed:
- a simple solution for mobile device deployment.
- an effective and safe storage solution, protecting devices from theft.
The school, which has been using a large number of laptop trolleys for several years, was attracted to LocknCharge by the FUYL Tower due to its innovative design. Because it is free-standing, it can be left in view of students in open areas, where they can then collect devices independently or charge and store their own devices safely.
Ian Harrison, Director of ICT at Harton Academy says, “In the library, we have a number of free-issue laptops for students to borrow when required. Library staff typically issue laptops by scanning a barcode located on the reverse of the laptop and use a biometric system of fingerprint reading to assign it to a certain student.”
“However in instances where students have late lessons or twilight lessons and are working on devices in private study time, this can cause a problem as when they go to return the item the librarian may have left for the day. In this case, a number of devices may be left in a heap. It then becomes very difficult to keep track of the devices and who they are with at any one time.”
“The major benefit of the FUYL Tower is when a student returns a device they can put the device back on charge and lock the door independently. It is conveniently logged and is much more secure out of hours.”
“We also noticed that students would often unplug one of the school desktop PCs that were ready for students to log into, in order to charge their own portable devices with their own charger. Other students would then go to use the PCs and be frustrated that they didn’t work. But after a member of staff was called to look at the ‘fault’ it would be found that it was as simple as the PC not being plugged in!”
FUYL Tower – The school has a mixture of school-owned laptops held by the library, as well as students working on their own devices. The FUYL Tower provided a perfect solution to the problem of deployment and safety both in and out of school hours.
Putnam 16 – In the music department, iPads are used to display sheet music to students and as screens for some MIDI keyboards. Prior to the Putnam 16, iPads would have to be left plugged into expensive keyboards and left with the power on overnight in order to charge. This posed a big security risk as they were constantly out on show. After a few attempted break-ins at the school, staff became concerned for these vulnerable machines. The iPads can now be locked away every night.
iQ 10 – An iQ 10 Charging Station is held in the PE department where iPads are used for registering students on the school management information system (SIMS) when in the gyms or changing rooms, away from desktop machines. They can also be used in lessons as an interactive tool, for example, to show students the ideal way to do a long jump, record a student’s attempt and then play it back, show the students their mistakes and allow them to rectify them. The charging station is kept in a lockable store cupboard, out of sight to deter theft.
iQ 10 – A second iQ 10 was placed in the learning resources area for students who may have difficulties with learning and need the help of mobile technology. With it iQ 10, devices can be stored securely and accessed only by staff when they’re ready to be issued to students.
RESULTS TO DATE
Ian continues, “The team from LocknCharge who scoped our initial requirements were very good and talked us through the most suitable charging stations in an online webinar which was very helpful. We were able to see equipment demonstrated and work out which device would suit each location best.
“The units were delivered then set up by an engineer very efficiently, and although we did have to install a new version of software onto the FUYL Tower ourselves, even that process was smooth, and the replacement SD card was easy to swap for the original.
“Our library staff are now releasing bays on the FUYL Tower and enjoying the journey into using the software. Students are changing their bad habits, and we are looking forward to usage increasing further. I would recommend LocknCharge products as a solution to potential theft, security and also some of the inconvenience of managing laptops and portable devices.”
For more information about Harton Academy, click here.
You have a great idea to roll out a mobile device initiative at your company… but you have to get IT’s on board first. After all, they are the gatekeepers to ensure that the technology fits within the overall tech scheme of the entire business. While it doesn’t seem like it would be too challenging to convince the IT Team to roll out something that will ultimately get your company to its goals faster, there are a lot of factors that can play into a big tech decision, and it is important to present your idea in a complete and thoughtful manner so that you’re respectful of the departments’ time, views and objectives. By coming to the meeting prepared, you’re more likely to come to a mutual conclusion that benefits both the organization and the IT Staff.
Gather paint points from various stakeholders. The more people that are affected by the lack of a mobile device program, the more likely your initiative will be approved by IT. Understand the problems you are trying to solve and how they will positively impact those individuals. Include some examples of problems you are trying to solve such as improving communication, speeding up transactions, providing better customer services and eliminating paper processes. If your solution could potentially benefit more than one department, your IT Team may be more receptive.
Read case studies (within or outside of your industry) of companies who have had success with a similar initiative. You can use case studies and testimonials to show off other successful companies (and further your point that your company could be one of them). LocknCharge offers many testimonials and blog posts about successful mobile device rollouts. For example, Erie County Medical Center started training doctors on mobile devices long before they ever held a device; this was very successful for them. Another instance of a great case study is this one, where THRIVE® Affordable Vet Care was able to work smarter and more efficiently through the use of technology. Read more testimonials here.
Have a security plan in place. It is likely that your IT Team is going to be very concerned about mobile device security, both digitally and physically. Digital security is imperative for any business using a mobile device that contains confidential data or customer information, and implementing MDM software can greatly help reduce the risk that your system will be hacked. However, research shows that 41% of data breaches are caused by lost or stolen devices, yet only 27% of organizations have considered a secure charging solution as part of their deployment. A complete solution that covers security, storage, charging and software updates will show IT managers that you’re thinking of the complete picture. Physical security ensures that devices will not need to be replaced as often due to theft and loss, and your IT Team will have increased confidence that data breaches are mitigated due to a highly-secure, lockable storage solution.
Map out the workflow and have a security and charging system in place. Make sure IT has a very clear understanding of how the devices will work from person to person, day to day. Who picks up the devices in the morning? How are they used by each person, and how are they given from team member to team member? How are they charged when employees are off duty? Your IT team will want to know exactly how they are being used so they can prepare their team with the right skills to assist the deployment.
Streamlined workflow and centralized charging will increase efficiency and decrease loss, therefore keeping the budget on track and allowing for fewer IT issues. Fully-charged and easily-accessible devices will increase employee adoption of new processes, contributing to the overall success of the program. If employees don’t have access to a charged device every day, they’ll likely never adopt the program.
Have a rollout and training plan in place. Companies who train employees before a rollout have better overall success, including perks such as increased employee confidence and trust with the device. As stated previously Erie County Medical Center started training doctors and other staff way before they ever even touched a device, which made for a more successful rollout. IT can also have more control over training and might be more likely to approve the rollout if they are more involved.
Another example of a successful training program is Keolis Commuter Services, who rolled out their mobile device pilot in states to ensure things were working as planned and that the project was meeting goals and objectives. This was always manageable from IT’s perspective, which is very attractive to the average IT manager.=
Can IT work with the products you’re suggesting, and is the customer service of those companies good enough for your standards? Is the hardware you’re implementing supported by the company it’s purchased from? How easy is it for the IT team to work with the hardware/software companies in the event they need customer support, product replacement, or product re-order? These are important questions to be able to answer to keep your IT department at ease.=
Additionally, consider the warranties or longevity of the technology you wish to purchase. For example, LocknCharge products have options for either a 10-year warranty or a lifetime warranty. Future proofing your devices are the best way to get the most out of your investment.
Back up your reasoning. There are plenty of stats to show why a mobile device deployment is better for companies overall. For example, 68% of companies surveyed by LocknCharge said that they are motivated to implement a mobile device program because it will improve communications. 61% said they’d have faster transaction processing, and 54% said it would eliminate manual/paper processes. See more about this study here.
For more tips on influencing change in your organization, read here.
Find the right solution for managing your mobile devices. Contact us to schedule a FREE, personalized live product demonstration today. Call (888) 943-6803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A CEO or CFO needs to know everything about the inner workings of their company, and most often, every large-impact business decision will need to make its way all the way up to that leader for signoff. In order to give the CEO or CFO the utmost confidence that your mobile device deployment plan will lead to company growth, you must propose a comprehensive plan of attack. Each part of the plan must address the problems it will solve and how those solutions will ultimately lead back to increased ROI or decreased costs for the company.
Improved communication: A mobile device deployment will improve communication between departments and employees, and overall will save money as communication efficiencies are implemented. In a study facilitated by LocknCharge, when asked why they wanted to improve communications, respondents’ objective of fostering better communication between employees and customers reinforces not only the idea that mobilization can benefit an organization internally and externally, but it bridges the gap between the two. Mobilization can help employees and customers connect more easily with each other, creating seamless interactions and retaining customers.
Faster transaction processing and better customer service: Salespeople and field agents will be able to process transactions more quickly and be able to pull up important client information at the drop of a hat. Mobile devices help field reps provide better service and lead to a higher customer retention rate, something that is imperative to making the company money. Faster transaction processing is a major contributor to the push toward mobilization. Devices like tablets and smartphones make it easier for employees to work from anywhere, increasing productivity and responsiveness. Streamlining processes to eliminate extra overhead seeks to remove unnecessary variables that add up from a direct-cost or productivity-cost standpoint.
Furthermore, organizations can leverage mobile devices to gather data to uncover trends, optimize operations, assure compliance, track customer buying behavior, and empower their entire operation. Ultimately, they can leverage data to generate revenue – and data is extremely valuable. If that data is inaccurate, it can send organizations in the wrong direction, such as miscommunicating with customers, developing products that aren’t warranted or pricing products in a way that is unsustainable. More accurate data is vital to running a smooth operation and is a competitive advantage.
Eliminating manual paper processes: By deploying a mobile device plan, your company can eliminate manual paper processes. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, estimates suggest organizations that “going paperless” can save up to ten times their paper cost by also reducing the cost of printing, toner, storage, labor, postage, and disposal. A recent report estimated U.S. businesses waste $8 billion managing paper every year. If mobile devices are leveraged to eliminate much of that manual document processing, significant savings can be realized. PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that the amount of data that businesses typically produce increases 65 percent annually, and that professionals can spend up to half their working hours looking for the information they need simply to do their jobs. Electronic processes deployed via mobile devices can mean greater productivity.
Improved efficiencies: Improved efficiencies means more productive employees. It’s no secret that mobile devices can increase employee productivity; however, if the devices are not charged and ready to use at all times, they can actually have the opposite effect. Having charged mobile devices leads to increased productivity in the workplace and can produce a significantly more positive customer experience (imagine the additional benefits you can offer a customer via a mobile device). You might also be surprised to know that 73% of organizations fail to plan how they’ll centrally charge their devices; it’s important that employees can rely on devices that the company has invested in.
How To Avoid Mobile Device Rollout Pain Points
Like any new venture, there are a few pain points that come along with a mobile device rollout.
Security and Data Safety: When you invest in a mobile device deployment, the last thing you want is for those devices to go missing. Protecting your investment protects your budget and keeps your business on track to hit its goals. Security is absolutely imperative when rolling out a mobile deployment. At the end of the day, CEOs and CFOs are likely responsible for the security of customer data and the catastrophic consequences that can ensue should a company suffer a large data breach. As many companies have learned the hard way, losing customers’ data and personal information can cost thousands, if not millions of dollars both in fines and damaged reputation.
Launching a comprehensive mobile device program is imperative to the safety of companies, stretching far beyond the mobile devices themselves. In 2017, the average cost of a data breach was $7.35 million, and those costs include everything from business disruption and revenue loss to loss of a company’s reputation. When a CEO or CFO makes the wise decision to launch a mobile device program, they need to know the steps to take to make it successful. If you are investing a large portion of your budget in portable technology, keeping it secure when not in use is the only option, because 41% of data breaches are caused by lost or stolen devices.
Remote Access for Employees: Another thing to know before you deploy a mobile device program is what exactly you are going to let your employees have access to remotely. It’s good to be upfront about which apps, websites and files will be available on your mobile devices so that IT can come up with the perfect deployment plan. It’s also important to think about which device features will be turned on or off; for example, you might want to have all cameras or microphones turned off on the devices while they’re on site so as to ensure there is no collection of sensitive data.
Understanding what’s important to your CEO or CFO is key to positioning your plan in a way that will meet their goals and objectives, and getting ahead of potential issues will yield the best results towards the company’s goals.
Learn best practices for deploying mobile devices and discover the LocknCharge solutions that are right for your business–contact us to schedule a FREE, personalized live product demonstration today. Call (888) 943-6803 or email email@example.com.
The education sector is a lot more technologically advanced than you’d think. As technology has evolved, so has the way we use it for education. What used to be one computer lab in every school has turned into iPads or tablets for every student, and educators have quickly learned how to harness technology to enhance education. Because of the education sector’s vast knowledge about and experience with mobile device deployment, we believe businesses can learn a lot from the education sector when implementing their own mobile device system.
Starting in 2007, smartphones started to increase in popularity and were widely used by students. However, they were not accepted as a classroom learning device until the iPad came to be in 2010. Now, interactive mobile apps have become central to classroom learning. Teachers can provide better learning opportunities and also work with a myriad of different learning styles using a wide variety of low-cost apps. The education sector has been working with mobile devices for what seems like forever, yet only 46% of businesses are even in the research phase of their mobile device deployment.
At Coachella Valley Unified School District in California, Superintendent Dr. Daryl Adams had a vision of leveling the playing field for all of his students using technology. This dream led to the school district becoming the first in the United States to provide mobile devices to all students and teachers pre-K through 12th grade, which was a trailblazing moment in mobile device deployment. To charge and secure their new iPad devices, the school district went with the LocknCharge EVO 40 Cart™, which secures and charges 40 iPads and features time-saving Baskets to easily deploy devices in a classroom. Learn more about this here.
The University of Oklahoma has a Research Campus to help educators in Oklahoma navigate tech solutions through their K20 Center. The Center provides training and grant money for tech resources and helps schools find the right hardware and software solutions by fostering conversations within the district. They have a full demo room where they open their doors to school officials to come and test new tech products. The school officials are then able to narrow down products that are proven to be successful in the classroom and apply their learnings to their school. Business might be able to take some notes from this structure, as it saves schools valuable time in researching products. Learn more about the K20 Center program here.
This type of learning model can also be applied to businesses. The Erie County Medical Center made sure their staff was fully trained on mobile devices before rolling out their deployment. Many of the healthcare providers at Erie had never used an iPad before, so the IT Team began a weekly training program in June of 2018, three months before the program went live. They covered training for using the iPads, the software, the FUYL Towers and the new workflow. By September, when their staff had the devices in-hand, they were fully prepared for–and even excited about–the mobile device program. The Network Team (IT Team) immediately embraced the plan and found the FUYL Towers very easy to use and manage.
(Please note: In the United States, the FUYL Tower has been discontinued and replaced by the FUYL Tower 15.)
Businesses can learn quite a bit from the education sector, which has a leg up on businesses in many ways:
- They have properly set up a streamlined workflow for their devices in advance of the mobile device rollout.
- They use centralized areas to charge, store and secure their mobile devices by implementing deployment solutions from by trusted companies like LocknCharge.
- They distribute and collect devices daily/weekly in an organized fashion and are able to detect issues with the devices, fixing them quickly.
- They have improved communication throughout their institution–between teachers, students and parents–through the use of devices and apps.
- They have a diverse group at the table when making tech decisions so that all opinions are understood and heard.
- They sync information or apps to devices with syncing stations and/or MDM software.
To learn how your business can catch up to the education sector, call (888) 943-6803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.