What is the Employee Digital Trail?
On Wednesday, we highlighted both the importance and tenets of IT asset cost transparency. We also noted that asset cost transparency is only the very first part of a broader vision of the business technology future that’s arriving in the near future. Today, we focus on the second part of this grand vision: The rise of the Employee Digital Trail, and the need and benefits of tracking it.
Now, you might be asking: What is the digital employee trail? The answer is, on the surface, simple enough. This is the historical data that is logged by all employees over the course of their work activities. The data that makes up the footprint consists of the following:
- Mobile usage
- GPS location
- Application logs
- Outlook/email traffic
- Calendar usage
- Corporate credit card usage
- And many, many more…
At any moment of any given day, we’re generating an absolutely massive trail of data. It starts the moment we get up and get ready to get to the office, continues throughout the course of our workday, and extends right up to the very last second that we keep our computers, tablets, and smartphones turned on. And the volume is increasing.
In fact, what could be the most important part about all this data is that there will be an unbelievable volume of it in the coming years. It’s been estimated that, by 2020, firms will manage 28 zettabytes of data, and almost 11 zettabytes of that data will be generated by them. Now I know that this figure sounds a bit abstract, so let me put it into proper perspective.
Each zettabyte is equal to ONE BILLION terabytes. Remember, 1 terabyte is roughly the equivalent of a pretty typical laptop harddrive. Can you imagine one billion hard drives? How about 28 billion of them? Since the average volume of a hard drive is about 4 cubic inches, that volume would fill up the CN Tower!
That’s the magnitude of information that we as technology workers will have to track and manage in the near future! And track it we must! There are four very important reasons for this!
4 benefits of tracking the employee digital trail
1. Improved security and audit
All of this information is extremely sensitive. It has to be carefully guarded, or it’ll be misused. On the other hand, because of the level of detail that this information conveys, it actually helps ward off security leaks since it can help track down the sources of misuse!
One of the biggest problems in managing assets is not in figuring out what needs to be bought but what isn’t being used! There is a lot of equipment and services that are sitting unused across all companies. On its own, this would already be problematic just as a warehousing issue. The bigger problem though, lies in cost – most of the time, you’re still paying for things that your employees aren’t using! The footprint will help identify the resources that are sitting around collecting dust so that you can put them to good use!
Once you let your staff know that their digital presence can be (or is) actively monitored, they will almost automatically comply with proper usage policies. It’s the reverse of “out of sight, out of mind”.
4. Increased employee engagement monitoring
With the footprint, it becomes much easier to check employee engagement in your company – you’ll be able to see just how much time is spent on job-critical tasks and how much isn’t. Now, this isn’t to say that you should be spying on your staff – it’s more a check on your management performance. Basically, you’ll know if you’re undertasking some employees while overtasking others. If everyone in the company has the same work:play ratio, then you’re doing your job as a manager right. If some staff are always doing essentially nothing while others never take breaks, you need to change your approach. The digital employee figerprint lets you know which camp you fall under!
Final words for now
So, that’s the second big vision of where technology and industry are headed. There’s still much more though! To get even more insights and ideas for managing the sea of changes that are fast approaching, I invite you all to attend Cimpl’s Vision Webinar. It’s hosted by Cimpl's President Christopher Thierry – the man who has created a new vision of how to adapt businesses for the coming decade.