Segmenting Your Workforce Will Actually Drive Innovation

Segmenting Your Workforce Will Actually Drive Innovation

Summary: One-size-fits-all computing is an antiquated paradigm. Forrester's J.P. Gownder explains how workforce segmentation drives innovation.

TOPICS: Tablets

It’s (long past) time to put the era of One Size Fits All enterprise computing behind us.Providing workers with Standard Issue™ devices and software represents an antiquated paradigm. Instead, segmenting your workforce into different classes of workers – honoring the needs of each type of worker – can help you:

  • Save money. Overinvesting in computing power by giving a worker “too much machine” and over-investing in software licenses for applications that won’t be used are common implications of One Size Fits All enterprise computing. You can save money by provisioning appropriate hardware and software to various classes of workers.
  • Preempt BYO. While IT departments are coming around to the virtues and values of BYO, managing excessively diverse BYO comes with management costs. You can preempt some types of BYO by providing the right tool to the right worker at the right time… obviating the need for them to bring their own.
  • Drive worker productivity and innovation. Innovations like tablets and Chromebooks can empower certain classes of workers to achieve new levels of productivity. Providing the right worker – for example, a traveling salesperson – with a tablet can enable new scenarios and create tangible returns.

Tablets are driving new interest in workforce segmentation. When we asked IT decision makers whether tablets would provisioned for general employee use, only 15% agreed. But when we asked IT decision makers which roles they would consider offering tablets as standard issue devices today, and which roles they would likely offer tablets tomorrow, specific classes of workers emerged as tablet-empowered:



According to IT, executives lead the pack with double-digit growth, followed by traveling sales, heavy travelers, and field workers. All of these groups will see swift increases in tablets. But for non-traveling sales and the vast majority of information workers, tablets won’t be standard issue devices. Tablets are being distributed on a value basis, not as a universal standard issue.

Segmenting the workforce this way can lead to segment-specific innovations. I spoke with the VP of Infrastructure and Operations for a global company that sells many of its products via consumer retail. The company employs a large sales force that visits thousands of retail locations in Asia. They developed a custom tablet application that fundamentally changed these salespeople’s visits to retail: With the tablet app, a salesperson goes into a retail store location and takes photos, allowing them to assess inventory counts, the accuracy of displays, etc. Most interestingly, the app uses location tagging. This tagging isn’t merely used to judge whether salespeople are doing their jobs or not (though it is). Instead, it’s generating big data in the background: Let’s say a specific SKU isn’t selling in a particular region. Data analytics derived from the location tags, in relation to the other data, now helps this enterprise to diagnose problems with its channels and products. Sales visits using tablets generate an entirely different set of information, meaning the company can solve its business problems much more effectively.

Without a segmented device strategy (providing tablets to salespeople) and an app strategy (designed specifically for the sales role), the company wouldn’t be gaining this business value. And it all started by departing from One Size Fits All computing.

Topic: Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The Only Rational Choice for a Tablet is Surface Pro

    When a properly motivated employee is given a mobile PC it generally pays for itself. The employee will likely do company work on the PC at home.

    Other tablets do not have the user accounts and and level of security required for most enterprises.

    Win 8 has Windows To Go and BitLocker. To Go enforces corporate policy on Mobile PCs and syncs the data with corporate. BitLocker provides NIST FIPS 140-2 certified encrypted storage. Win 8 uses FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing, and signing.

    Win 8 allows the employee to create a personal user account. Win 8 has extensive access control lists features ACL and DACL.

    DISA and NSA both have guidelines for securing Windows to DoD requirements. MS has been involved with high security requirements for well over 10 years.

    All the above comes standard with Win 8 Enterprise. No need to get an app for that.

    While iPad has been granted FIPS 140-2 certification by NIST, the certification is only for iOS 6 crypto-core. Which is an encryption algorithm. There is no built in access control in iPad.

    DIST has a Free security suite for implementing iPad security.

    The DIST iPad security guidelines require require a number of apps to be installed and configured. If you want to go that route to secure a very limited computing device. After reading the DIST Overview and pursuing the other 4 PDFs, I decided not to even try installing the Free security suite.

    Google has a Git repository for Android NIST guidelines. Too incomprehensible for me.

    Samsung has Android KNOX platform for enterprise security.

    Is it worth the effort to secure iOS or Android when Win 8 has it all built in already?
    • The defender of the indefensible .....

      and the MS shill in chief has spoken, but has NO credibility.

      Imagine that.
    • Re: The Only Rational Choice for a Tablet is Surface Pro

      Trouble is, it's not running a proper tablet OS, just a desktop OS that's had a tablet skin stuck on top of it.
  • You Just Couldn't Make it Through the Day without a Shill comment?

    Just because I do not like MS, does not mean I will not use their products. I had to comment here as I hate Apple and Google more than MS. But I still posted what I knew about iPad and Android and getting Free software to secure them.

    Probably no solution for your too cool Nook.

    You got a big mouth for such a tiny pea brain.

    Please explain to me how my position is indefensible.

    I'll guess it's similar to you dumb ass comment on 1000s of GPU cores, one for each pixel in the May 21st Blog titled

    "Cracking the 1,000-core processor power challenge"

    Where you said:

    Thousands of graphics cores
    That is relatively easy to imagine. One could imagine one tiny core per pixel as some sort of optimum perhaps

    Read up on GPU and maybe you will understand just how stupid this sounds.

    Not sure which was worse, this one or when in the May 17th Blog titled "Upgrade your PC or Mac"

    You said DDR2 RAM was very expensive and hard to find.

    Then you lame retort saying this is an international forum and not everyone here one can buy from Newegg. But yet you had recommended of all places to shop on Craigslist for used RAM???

    Talking about indefensible posts.

    Still waiting for you to get back to me as to in which Country DDR2 is expensive and hard to find. Not holding my breath. Will not forget or let you forget as long as you continue to be an asshole.

    Shaking my head.