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Is Swivel Chair Breaking Us?

By on October 15th, 2019

Swivel Chair Interface has become a modern practice in a society where we have several screens open at the same time because you need to see something in one and move it to another. Swiveling back and forth to look at siloed sources of data puts a crick in your neck, not to mention building up the chiropractor bill from all the strain. Working this way can cause professionals in all kinds of careers to miss important opportunities to identify and solve problems faster and more accurately. While swivel-chair dominates the multi-monitor workspace, this information ergonomic conundrum has close cousins of “Alt-Tab” on laptops and “Multi-finger swipe” on our tablets and phones.

How We Put Our Heads On a Swivel

Whether working in a Network Operation Center (NOC), Security Operation Center (SOC), Managed Services Provider (MSP), Trading Floor, or any other career in an office, you are probably using multiple systems and tools to track multiple hyper-connected aspects of the processes, business rules, policies, infrastructure, people, resources… If you are a tech, your chair may be swiveling madly between network monitoring tools like SolarWinds, NNMi, and SevOne; ticketing systems like ServiceNow and Remedy; application management systems like AppDynamics, Dynatrace, RUM, and so many other tools that you’re dizzy by the time you leave the desk.

While we targeted an IT technician, there is no difference for any role that requires access to multiple systems, many of which are new siloed SaaS apps, 3rd party systems of suppliers or resellers for which you have no control. Nonetheless, if it isn’t swiveling, it’s alt-tabbing or four-finger swiping. Basically, we have an information management problem at the user interface and the user has become the used. Thankfully we have new tools and methods to attack these issues, but they are not without their own trials, as many are learning.

Shouldn’t Work Be Easy on the Eyes, Neck, and Fingers?

It should and it can. While it’s an old methodology, Design Thinking has been very popular in recent years to design consumer experiences, but it can also apply to every role and every job. When we look at a users task and the things they do the most that involve toil (work without any considerable though), we can apply automation and choreograph the appearance of information so necks are not swiveling, thumbs are not alt-tabbing and tablets aren’t being assaulted by the five-fingers of death.

Design Thinking in its many forms lets us empathy with the stakeholder, define outcomes, and create better ways to get things done. This is what fuels all the interest in RPA, Business Process Management Suites, low-code app development. To use yet another body part, there is an Achilles Heel. Uncoordinated progress across multiple different technologies can rapidly recreate the hot mess we were trying to fix in the first place. Thankfully, a new type of platform is emerging called Connected Intelligence that brings some sense and order to the new tools and the old systems in ways that increase the return from existing technology investments, moves the needle on targeted outcomes, and makes all of us have more meaningful contribution to our endeavors.

If you would like to learn more about Connected Intelligence and attack a few information management pains, please contact us for a demonstration or discussion.

Thanks to Nicolette Attree for your photo that captures the theme and expression of what many face today.

About Scott Lesley

As the Director of Strategic Innovation at Edge, Scott Lesley brings decades of progressive technical experience to serve our customers. From 14k modems to living in the back row of a NOC, to matching business outcomes with enterprise-wide solutions, Scott keeps his solutions reaching for the clouds with a foundation of feet on the ground.

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