By Mike Anderson
BYOD (bring your own device) promises more personalized approaches to business computing as people engage with tools that suit them best. One factor behind this movement is how well new mobile devices deliver function to task, leveraging what we call the app personality.
Simply put, the app personality factor results in the device taking on the personality of the app through leveraging features to mimic and replace other specialized devices. We’ve seen this emerge in apps like scanning checks, processing credit cards, and golf rangefinders. Individuals can find apps that suit their particular work styles, and BYOD can enable them to bring that productivity with them to work. My recent experience is with a relatively simple approach, using an app to replace my paper organizer notebook with an iPad app called Noteshelf.
Organizing for Productivity
Staying organized is a key to productivity. While office and productivity software can automate calendar management and work to keep lists of activities and notes, handwriting and paper work better for me than navigating the PC file system and keeping documents updated. With paper planners and organizers, though, you still have to file the pages where they belong, and with the right mix of calendar and task pages the notebook can get cumbersome.
Noteshelf as Organizer
Using Noteshelf, my iPad has become my personal organizer. This isn’t automation of my calendar or to do list. It’s also not an app where I have to type details into structured forms and fields. It is a replacement of my paper-based organizer, and it lets me interact with it in the same way I do with paper. The app enables you to create “notebooks” made up of pages you can write on with a stylus (or your finger).
The app is relatively simple. It has a bookshelf that can contain different notebooks for different purposes or topics, and each notebook can contain a variety of page types. Each page of each notebook can be a different “form”, and the forms can be plain or lined paper, organizer pages that are part of the app, or you can create your own by using a captured image.
Digital Paper is Key
Key to making this app work for me is its ability to take over the function of a notebook, and of paper. Writing on top of any type of “paper” in the app is free form, just like with a piece of paper. If you want to go out of the lines, make drawings, or fill in the details for you day it all works – just like paper. Although having all my tasks, priorities and daily calendar at hand in my iPad is the greatest value, I can also print pages or whole notebooks, email them to others, or store them in a file sharing system if I need to.
Noteshelf is a good example of how the app personality works. It takes the concept of the paper organizer used for daily planning, project tracking, to do lists and other key activity management functions and captures it in an app. With the ability to easily create and manage different notebooks for different functions, it’s a better personal organizer with digital paper.
BYOD is Personal
It’s this kind of app and personal focus that’s behind BYOD. Not everyone organizes the same way. Not everyone will use the same app for the same functions or in the same way. But each individual will find a mix of tools, some of them on mobile devices, that make him or her more effective. And they need that effectiveness at work as well as away from it.