Before implementing an enterprise wearable technology strategy, it's important to brainstorm the plan's overall goals and roadmap potential capabilities first, according to Brian Laughlin, technical fellow, strategic technical planning and IT architecture at Boeing, and Bradd Busick, CIO at MacDonald-Miller. Laughlin and Busick spoke with SearchCIO at the recent Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit in Boston, where they discussed best practices to get started with utilizing wearable tech in the enterprise. In this video, they offer pointers on how to identify problems that wearable tech deployment could solve and explain why a pilot project is often the best way to start implementing enterprise wearable technology.
Editor's note: The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
How do you prep for enterprise wearable technology?
Brian Laughlin: A lot of times I will have people come to me and they'll say, "Hey, I need a Google Glass or I need HoloLens," and I'll say, "Great, what problem are you trying to solve?" And a lot of times, they can't give me a very good answer. To me, that's a big red flag. That means that we need to go do some homework because guessing, or supposing what the problem is, is never a good plan.
I usually sit down with them and try to understand what they are really trying to accomplish. Once we have that agreed to, you have to co-discover requirements -- you can't create or collect them. You have to kind of go through this process of co-discovering. Once we understand what the problem really is, what are we trying to accomplish, then we go back and figure out the best business process that we could put together, or re-engineer in some cases, to accomplish that in the most cost-effective and efficient way.
Once we have that done, then we go back and we look at the enabling technologies that can best help us to accelerate, control and distribute the information.
If you judiciously go through each of those steps, which require homework, I can almost guarantee that you're going to nail the requirement because you're not doing it for the end user, you're actually doing this with them and that's a big difference.
The other thing that's not to be missed is, through that process, you actually develop ownership with the end user. When you get done, as a technologist you get to walk away from that situation. But these people have to live with the solution that we co-created. It's really important that we get it right and that they own the process and that way, they'll care for it and feed it.
Bradd Busick: The wearable journey for us did not start on a white board saying, "Hey, let's go after wearables." We actually went through a pretty rigorous road mapping exercise with our customers, where we had them rank their top capabilities, current state in the business and had them prioritize those capabilities in terms of relative importance.
We then asked them to prioritize those capabilities in terms of current state maturity. What came out was a scatter plot of things that we're really good at, not good at, and kind of good at. Once those capabilities were extracted, my team went back and then said, "Well these are the themes that are bubbling up across the organization. We actually think wearables might be an interesting solution for this; let's go after that." We did it as a pilot: Measured, learned, got things wrong, failed fast and then went to market with a full blown deployment.