You probably remember that a while ago I asked you about your use of PDA's. In addition to the responses we recevied on this blog, the user research team has been gathering data during various customer visits. Here are our collated results. Thank you for your response, and keep those channels of communication open! (and yes, I WILL post about the redesign of Locations soon!)
Summary and some good quotes:
What is the current % of use of PDAs at your company? 1 respondent said they had over 4000 Blackberry users, but gave no %
3 said 100%
4 said 50%
14 said between 10 -35%
9 said under 10%
In many cases, even if the % was small, it was critical for that segment of the company - for execs, field workers, lawyers who needed and were expected to have 24-hour availability
Are there any company policies that restrict usage to certain job levels or roles?
Unless the company is 100% using them, more high-level managers and salespeople in the field use them.
In many firms, if you can justify the need for one and it's in budget, you get one.
Is there a push to get people onto these devices?
Again, this varies by company, but most people said that there didn't need to be a push because so many people were requesting to use them.
In one or two companies, they are trying to cut down on usage.
Do you see shift coming in the next year toward this?
Most said yes. Some said they had already seen the shift. There is clearly a big upswing in PDA usage
"Yes. I see us going towards the one employee, one PDA as we went to one employee one laptop and one person one mobile phone."
Main tasks done at your company:
C & S (many sync), contacts (many sync), mail (read more than write), web browsing, phone, extranet portal, RSS feeds, custom apps, remote admin of dbs and server
PDA you use:
clearly the Blackberry was the most widely used, especially when it came to companies that had large-scale usage
17 said some sort of Blackberry (in a few cases this was a backup to another PDA)
7 Palm Treo
2 Windows Mobile
2 Pocket PC
1 Palm OS phone
1 HP iPAQ
What are the main things you do with it? (Many are same as company)
C & S (many sync), contacts (many sync), mail, web browsing, phone, extranet portal, RSS feeds, sudoku, teletext, reminders, todos, play games, alerts - replacement for a pager
What are the biggest changes you see in your usage of a PDA vs. a computer? Mostly positive responses...
"extremely convenient - would never be without it"
" necessary for working in the field"
" centralized record for meetings and contacts"
"keep more things in my mind (but really in my PDA)"
"The ability to have the device switched on all the time - real time connection to the business makes a difference"
"great for looking for snippets of information"
" carry my PDA places I wouldn't want to lug my laptop" - (MM - remember when a laptop was considered light?)
"damn screen is too small. useless to read mail with attachments"
"less functional web browsing because screen is small"
"Different devices, totally different purposes. PDA should be focused on single tasks that I can do quickly and accessible using one hand."
" depends where i am - prefer my wireless laptop in my office"
" more accessible - unfortunately"
"Some Blackberry users tend to do more and more on that device instead of their laptop. One non-technical co-worker of mine did Lotusphere without his laptop for instance."
Does the ability to sync data to a PDA lessen the amount of printing you do?
Most said they did not notice a difference in printing. Some, because they never printed their calendars anyway and some because they always like to print calendars.
One respondent made a plea not to get rid of printing in Hannover...
*** Please don't let an increased PDA population be used support any temptation to "cheap-out" on printing support / features in Hannover. ***
"huge benefit for me.. as I'm only part of the time in the office, and I wouldn't even know where my nearest printer is"
"I usually don't print schedules in the first place, but I do look at my PDA calendar a lot more than my PC." (a few people noted that they saw more of a difference in the use of the PC or laptop because it was easier to log into their PDA than boot up just to see calendar or contact info)
"I've never heard of PDAs having anything to do with printing"
"Yes -execs used to have their calendars printed for them every a.m. and faxed throughout day to have an up to the minute schedule. Now they have that on their Blackberry and don't need printouts"
"Mary, I'm glad you are so open to listening on the PDA front. It's a killer app in terms of the competition. If I tell IBMers that EasySync is awful (it is and I've used it for over 5 years), they shrug and point out that there are other commercial apps. I find the commercial apps appropriate for sites that invest in an organization-wide PDA plan. Unfortunately, most of the PDA/SmartPhone usage that I see, is with individuals who are trying to tough it out on their own. Well, maybe not most—maybe 50/50. I think it is an unbelievable oversight that Notes doesn't include the synchronization software equal to that which is available for Outlook."
" As you are asking, I'll mention that everyone who has used Outlook is quite unhappy with EasySync. Due to the nature of the people who have PDAs, it is a relevant problem for the future of Lotus Notes in the companies we work with. We have some customers with mNotes but, usually, they find that solution too expensive (partly because of the low number of PDA users)."
"What I would like my smartphone/pda to do is be able to sync remotely. - If I'm asked to go to a meeting I should be able to accept/reject/reschedule the meeting - Being able to sync with the journal.nsf would be useful too and since that can be stored in the mail file it would be nice to be able to do that remotely too."
"Would be nice to have it built into Domino; Exchange offers such a feature and in Domino you need to buy additional 3rd party products"
"They are very important to our business as these staff need to be alerted to market changes and/or internal problems immediately and in detail. They fulfill a function alongside the large screen as a means of keeping in touch and being alerted to useful information. People also carry them around within the office to ensure they don't miss anything when away from their desk. The majority of usage is the pushing of emails which come from internal systems that users can subscribe to. "
"One of the biggest frustrations of Blackberrys is that they will only connect to the user's email, calendar and todo. The Windows Mobile devices (iMates etc) using mNotes allow you to connect to multiple mail accounts. This is very useful if you have centralised mail accounts that are accessed by several users in the office. The only real solution we've had until now is to forward all mail received at the central account to each user's mail file. If IBM could come up with a solution to that I'd be very pleased. In addition to this the mForms application from Commontime allows easy development of applications within Domino Designer to run on mobile devices."