Achieving Work-life Balance Using a Smart Dashboard

Posted on: October 17, 2014 by Sven Geerts

A “Smart Dashboard” to improve both my efficiency at work and my work-life balance

Each and every one of us is “connected” in their day-to-day life, connected to our mailbox, connected to social media. We sometimes forget our business is working with people, but we always remember that it’s supported by software applications. Many different applications support my day-to-day activities. However, these “supporting” applications don’t always make my life easier but always make it easier to forget about my real business, people.

We can all remember, not so long ago, the time before Self Service Portals. The wide variety of tedious manual processes started by selecting the correct form, printing it before filling it in manually or filling it before printing it. This was later improved by a computer supported process, followed by web interfaces. The next step of the process is where we’re at now, an integrated portal, only requiring us to sign on once and allowing access to multiple different applications.

First step – the portal, integrated and online

There is no denying that the integration of these processes has made our life easier. Each employee can enter their time declaration, request leave, fill out an expense declaration, and request training at any given time, day or night and the process will start. It allows us as the employee to focus on our business, the customer while adhering to company processes. It has become a “fire and forget” approach that we can do from any place, as long as there is the internet, we’ll be able to request it quick and easy.

The system then sends out notifications via email that are picked up by the manager who is encouraged to log on to the portal and approve/decline the appropriate request. On paper, this sounds like a good way of working, as this approach allows for a flexible approval flow and lets everyone work from their preferred location.

However, this approach is based on the premise that all different applications send out notifications so that the manager is informed that there is an approval waiting. This is actually not always the case, which forces the manager to remember which applications require him to regularly check or which will send him a notification via email which does not help in preventing managers from email overload.

Next step – the dashboard, smart and digital

This brings us to the topic of this article, the Smart Dashboard. The next natural step in the evolution of these approval flows will integrate seamlessly into the digital life of both employee and approver.

The Smart Dashboard concept has been imagined by the Juniors Group, sponsored by Atos Zero email program and our global IT department. It aims at increasing the efficiency of each member of the company by centralizing the different streams of information and tasks. It can be considered as a tool for everyday use that will be usable from every location worldwide and on a variety of different devices, both regular web as well as mobile.

The concept of the Smart Dashboard is based on pushing information to an application, processing the information for the user interface and providing all information to the user in a central hub. Customization on user level would allow the user to decide which streams are received and presented in their personal dashboard, making this tool the central application for each Business Technologist. The displayed information could contain a mixture of news and information as well as open tasks.

But the goal of the Smart Dashboard is to be more than a sum of its parts, to be more than a mere collection of news and tasks. One of the main functionalities would be to allow the user to quickly process certain simple tasks and actions, without forcing the user to log into another application. However the goal of the Smart Dashboard is not to replace the current applications but to enhance the user experience, to align the existing tools better to our day to day reality and to simplify our life by creating a single point for all notifications.

Last step – the user (me), more efficient

From the users’ perspective, the benefits of the Smart Dashboard are an increase in efficiency through the reduction of time spent logging into different tools to perform tasks and retrieve information. Combined with improved user satisfaction over the usability and performance of the Smart Dashboard this is a key factor to the improving internal process user experience. The goal is to enable each user to make better use of their time spent than working through a variety of different tools in everyday business.

In conclusion, the Smart Dashboard is a highly innovative concept that perfectly fits into the business strategy, putting the people at the center of the technology. Additionally the tool has the potential to become a key point in the organization infrastructure and help drive a company’s strategic topics and goals while reducing the email overload of your key resource, people.

Stay tuned on upcoming blogs about the Smart Dashboard concept, which will detail benefits and challenges for a company to roll out such a tool.

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About Sven Geerts
Global Talent Manager
Sven has joined Atos in 2001 and is currently Deal Solution Manager in Belgium. His expertise ranges from Development and Technical Design, over Functional Analysis and Consultancy to Team Leading, Project Management and Service Delivery Management. He has a particular knowledge of ERP, ECM and CRM and Sustainbality Solutions and related Business Processes. Sven is also a proud member of the Atos Juniors Group, an international, cross-functional network of young talents participating in a dedicated curriculum and exciting projects that contribute to Atos' global business performance.

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