As anyone who has ever tried to change a car tyre with a screwdriver will tell you, getting the job done is often simply a matter of selecting the right tools. And so it is in computing; Often have I been called in to “fix” Word Documents that “failed” to have the Excel functions that the user required. This does not mean that Word was “broken”. It just means that the user selected the wrong tool for the task in hand. It’s a common enough mistake that we see regularly in the IT department, and not the most foolhardy one by far. Usually with a gentle nudge in the right direction the user can be re-oriented towards using a more appropriate tool with a minimum of fuss or embarrassment.
Occasionally however we come across some resistance to our nudging due to motivated reasoning. We all come across motivated reasoning – even if we are unfamiliar with the term – in our professional lives. For example, your delivery driver may reason that a Maserati would enable him to make his deliveries faster than the Iveco he currently occupies. He might point to the admirable fuel economy, the magnificent engineering or the absence of height restriction as reasons to “upgrade the delivery fleet”. But even accepting these reasons on face value, most transport managers would immediately see that these reasons were motivated by the delivery drivers desire for a Maserati.
It’s easy to spot the motivated reasoning in that example. Instinctively we are able to make quantitative analysis between the two options. But, like for our Word user, that decision process can become more difficult when the tools we are comparing are less familiar to us.
For example, your users might reason that iPads and Windows Embedded Handhelds are both “Mobile Devices”. And while this is true, it is true in the same way that the Maserati and Iveco are both powered by the internal combustion engine. “We need a bigger screen…”, complains a user. On face value that sounds like a valid argument, but they are most often silently completing the sentence with, “…to watch iPlayer”. Your users might find any number of legitimate-sounding reasons for selecting the iPad over a boring industrial device.
Now, I love my iPad, and I’d be the first to advise anyone looking for a really good, family friendly, personal media player to look in that direction. But ease-of-use for the under 6 age range is rarely at the top of the required features list for businesses. Scalability, reliability, interoperability, connectivity and upgradability should be the benchmarks by which you judge mobile hardware. And it should come with a rated drop-to-concrete tolerance of more than 1.5 metres. Sure, drop tolerance is not as sexy as being able to post your holiday photos to Facebook with one click, but it can make a big difference to your ROI.
I’ll close with the same advice that I gave to the guy with the “broken” Word document. “There’s no shame in not having the experience to always pick the right tool for the job, only in not asking for help when you feel out of your depth.” At Medatech we have a wealth of experience in matching application to hardware/software. Give the integrations team a call for some friendly advice about how to get the most from your mobile infrastructure, before “upgrading the delivery fleet”.