ProjectWorld Keynote: Sunil Chandra from Google
This is my site Written by Alora on November 26, 2008 – 6:30 pm

At ProjectWorld, one of the keynote speakers was Sunil Chandra, Director HR Technology & Operations at Google. Ironically this wasn’t one of the keynotes I was most interested in attending, but I’m glad I did. Aside from his very engaging speaking style, Sunil had an exceptional point to make.

Sunil pointed out that, for the first time in history, the average (white collar) employee has better technology available to them at home than they do at work. This was his point when it came to discussing enterprise applications for back office functions.

In a 24/7, Five-9’s universe, giving employees antiquated systems that require printing, faxing, inter-office mailing or otherwise manually processing paperwork is not only falling short of employees expectations of the enterprise capability, but it’s also harder to secure and manage.

He pointed out that, in order not to lose the expectations game with employees, enterprises need to provide technical solutions that are comparable to the type of solution we provide our customers.

How many office environments (to say nothing of entire industries) still use DOS screens for employees to enter data? How many of us have to print up forms and interoffice them to another department for things like expense reports? Would we ever consider that acceptable functionality for our customers? Then why do we regard it as ok for our employees?

Interesting question, but the brutal truth is that getting companies to invest in systemic technology for employees is always a much, much harder sell than system upgrades for customer. If for no other reason, than because customers have an easier time “comparison shopping” and will quickly hop to a competitor if you do not provide them with a slick, easy-to-use interface that meets their expectations. That’s much harder for employees to do, so it’s not as big a fear among organizational leadership. Which means that it’s usually pretty easy to postpone expensive technology investments in systems that only employees see.

No wonder employees often feel like second class citizens.