Employing Consumer IT in Operations
EMPLOYING CONSUMER IT IN OPERATIONS: WILL IPADS SAVE MONEY, INCREASE EFFICIENCY, AND RAISE USER SATISFACTION?
In 2012, the Swiss Federal Railway (SBB) evaluated various computer devices to provide their 3,000 train drivers with a ‘companion’ that gives them access to the operational instructions necessary for trip preparation and driving the train according to schedule. The requirements for the new solution were that it should decrease the running costs of the existing laptop-based solution by 75% and increase or at least maintain user satisfaction, mobility, display quality etc. The technology evaluation indicated that the best option for meeting these requirements would be the Apple iPad.
While the evaluation presented in the case is technology-focused, the proposal still needs to be presented to a committee of members from different departments that have different points of view on the problem, the proposed solution and the associated implications. The assignment questions require students to widen the scope and discuss the implications from the various perspectives. Students will develop an understanding of the importance of not only assessing technological aspects, but also of organisational, legal, user, and support aspects. By considering the different perspectives, students additionally discuss different types of usage policies, including the ‘bring your own device’ / BYOD strategy, and the future implications of introducing a consumer device to an organisation.