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At Econsultancy we’ve discussed several times what the elements of digital culture are and why it’s good for business.

But we’ve never really covered what is really horrendous, quite possibly because we do like to focus on the positive whenever we can.

Today, I’m going to focus on the signs that show your organisation is desperately behind the times, because unfortunately such issues are rife in many corporate environments today.

If your organisation has any of the below, chances are they are irritating people beyond all comprehension, getting in the way of work and have no genuine utility behind them. 

Banish these things immediately, or make a quick buck by shorting the share price of the offending institution.

Read below. I accept no responsibility for any migraines you suffer…

You can’t connect to the wifi unless you bring your device to IT

This baffles me. Unless you are GCHQ or the NSA, there is no reason why your company should make it harder to connect to the wifi than on a shop floor of a department store.

People need it so much, they will even choose to shop at locations with wifi.

If you have a secure network with confidential information, then there may be some safeguards you need to put in place.

But this doesn't mean employees should waste hours of their valuable time ferrying equipment to IT to have it "approved" (i.e. having its serial number recorded on paper in a lever arch file).

Guests can’t use wifi, or need to fill in a convoluted form to do so

If your guests (i.e. prospects or leads) can't connect to wifi, I would say the experience is like visiting a restaurant without a water closet. All you will do is cause them unnecessary discomfort and they will think your company is just a bunch of amateurs.

Do everyone a favour and install a guest network with a simple password that everyone can share.

Whoever came up with the following play on Maslow's Hierarchy was expressing something we've all felt...

Connecting your own device to the network is forbidden

In a similar point to the one above, this one is stupid.

There are many a time when someone will need to get online using a device that their workplace might not have given them.

Perhaps they need to check if a site works on mobile. It could even be that they are using their own computer because your organisation hasn't given them the software they require. 

To work remotely you need special permission (and often a convoluted VPN)

Working remotely for many types of team (especially developers) is the new norm. 

In fact, among younger generations, the ability to work remotely is seen as a valuable benefit when looking for employers.

Aside from this, you probably have employees who may have to care or look after people back home, or they may have some disabilities which mean they are home from time to time.

These people want to work, so make it easy for them.

Any changes to the website (no matter how small) require an unnecessary business case

We've covered agile marketing quite a lot on the Econsultancy blog. It's a hot topic within marketing.

However, if your business requires someone to spend a huge amount of time completing paperwork or online forms to make small, quick, positive changes, chances are you are lagging way behind the competition.

Kill this backward thinking. It helps no one.

Tech support processes are used to delay work rather than make things easier for everyone

There is a sad reality within many organisations: the technical team are so demoralised and depressed with their work, they really don't want to help anyone.

As a result, they adopt passive-aggressive strategies to delay their work.

If this happens at your place, do the following:

  1. Buy some donuts or beer.
  2. Find the technical team somewhere in the building.
  3. Give them donuts or beer.
  4. Ask them for help while they eat your donuts or drink your beer.

If the above doesn't work, give us a call about our digital transformation services.

Tech projects frequently reference 'stakeholders' but most people are never spoken to

A similar hallmark of a passive-aggressive technical team is the frequent use of jargon, babble and lengthy documentation in lieu of actually finding out what people need.

There's a reason why the agile manifesto principles encourage face-to-face communication rather than lengthier documentation.

It's quicker, easier and accepts the fact that we are human, not automata.

Projects are rolled out 'big bang' style but with minimal testing and no resource to deal with problems

Companies don't do enough testing. Make sure yours isn't one of them.

Your website displays messages like this

If it does, hire an agency. Immediately.

WordArt appears without irony

Remember this?

While I haven’t got anything against WordArt per se (indeed, it can have a certain tinge of nostalgia about it), using WordArt without understanding its implications may result in any hint of credibility your organisation has burning into a fine ash from which the most robust phoenix could never emerge.

So unless you understand the potential taboos, don't ever use WordArt. Or Impact or Comic Sans.

What have you seen?

Having smashed your head against multiple tables and walls, does your forehead bear the wounds of desperation? Or have you walked into a company only to leave having lost the will to live at their digital backwardness?

Vent your anger and frustration and share your horror stories with the masses in the comments below!

Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 11 March, 2014 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

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Comments (3)

Georgia G

Georgia G, CTO at Compliance Online

In my case there is WiFi, but it doesn't work. No cabled internet access in meeting rooms either.....

over 2 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

I feel your pain Georgia... I generally carry a 4G dongle around with me whenever I head to a new office, especially if there is any trace of WordArt hanging around :)

over 2 years ago

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Jean-François Petit

"Projects are rolled out 'big bang' style" . I just love that expression. It is unfortunate that it describes so well what most of our clients still do (the big makeover, you know...), despite all our efforts to the contrary and the good intentions.

about 2 years ago

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