Removing the physical gap between workers and their IT support can drive significant improvements in efficiency, while saving both time and money for businesses.
the week before a show, and the convention services team is preparing an
exhibit hall of the Austin, Texas, Convention Center for the first arrivals.
The team, which consists of everything from decorators to utility personnel to
IT specialists, hurries about from one future booth location to the next to
prepare each space for the exhibitor that will arrive in the next couple of
they move to each booth location, team
members consult work orders displayed on an Apple iPad. The work orders are
presented according to the locations of the booths, so employees move quickly
from one spot to the next.
this with the way things used to be. Workers went to the show office, where
there was a huge binder of all required work orders. There, a physical copy of
the work order was printed, and the worker would go off on that assignment.
Each trip from the show floor to the office where the work orders were located
could be as long as six city blocks.
the process of putting on a convention, we have exhibitors on the show floor,
and clients that order services from us," said Joe Gonzales, IT services manager
for the Austin Convention Center.
services could include power, big power-which means high-amperage electrical
power-network, drainage and water.
used to track all those orders and put out paper work orders," said
Gonzales. "That used to involve walking six city blocks just for a power
strip. If they just ordered something, they'd go to a work desk, and get the
never knew what was next because you were doing one thing at a time. We have
different groups. The people who install Internet drops are one team, and the
people who install electrical work are a different team," Gonzales added.
way the work was being done was clearly not efficient, Gonzales notes. The
solution: Extend the reach of IT to the workers themselves and remove the
physical gap between the IT department and the people who needed to do the
looked at better ways to do this," said Gonzales. "How could we
improve the amount of information we carried? How could we provide better
diagrams? How could we get more information to the person deploying those
services? We were already running a FileMaker order system that was already
collecting orders online. We looked at the FileMaker Go system. We filtered out
everything but information that was on the work order."
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.