Could your IT help desk learn a thing or two from the Apple genius bar concept? Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett, InformationWeek's IT Chief of the year, sees it as the latest step in the consumerization of business IT.
Inside Starbucks' Seattle headquarters, a new IT help desk for employees opened last month, and it's unmistakably modeled on the Apple Store. Dubbed the Tech Cafe, it includes Mac and PC laptops laid out on smooth wooden counters for employees to tinker with, and smartphones on a front table for them to look at. Employees can pick out the equipment they want and bill it to their department. If they're having a tech problem, or an idea for software or hardware they could use on the job, they can set up an appointment with a staffer to talk at the Genius Bar look-alike front counter. Or they can just drop in and ask. The cafe has a bright green entranceway, with a giant plasma screen in the lobby showing real-time tweets that mention Starbucks.
Fadden: New look for IT support
The Tech Cafe might seem like a textbook case of the consumerization of IT--that is, an attempt to give employees a tech experience at work that feels as good as their consumer experience. And that's a part of it. But Starbucks CIO Stephen Gillett thinks it meets another need. He flips the consumerization idea on its head, calling it the "IT-ization of the consumer"--meaning, employees come to work knowing so much about technology that they're doing some of the hard work that once would ...