In a previous blog I introduced the concept of context. In this blog, I’d like to expand on this topic and provide little more understanding of what I am thinking about here.

Let’s face it, although technology aids productivity at work, to some extent it’s created an era of depersonalized contact. These days it’s more likely I will send a black and white impersonal email or text message to a co-worker or a group of people than walk across to their desk and have a more friendly conversational exchange. Which means I miss out on learning more about the “person” that I am communicating with; what they like, even what they do on a daily basis which would help our future working relationship.

And I think that’s true for most of us.

Create A Colourful Canvas

What if everyone viewed the world in black and white only? How would you spot a red warning light? By embracing the use of contextual information to add colour, organizations gain a great understanding and have ability to do more to support their business users and the technology they need. They can once again reconnect and build better relationships in a scaleable way counteracting that de-personalization. Departments such as IT can now give business users a better experience than they would get if they went out and found their own IT solutions.

In the simplest terms context enables better understanding of the business users of IT and the environment that they operate in, if you like by painting the bigger more colourful picture. Similar to what we are seeing in our use of technology outside of work, the ability for IT organizations to provide context is made possible through the use of tools such as sensors, social media tools, mobile technologies and location based data all providing additional information about end users, their preferences, roles, the services and devices they use and more. And, if you are using a system with mature service management capabilities you can easily bring that relevant, personal information into your ITSM system to harness it.

Two-speed Working

IT and in fact any department using mature service management systems can see what it needs to see and do what it needs to do- both to offer to end users and make; relevant choices, actions or deliver content in the context of a support or service activity. This enables them to provide a context enriched experience and gain added value from existing services.

In addition, I think that using context positions the business and IT teams to innovate while still providing solid, efficient operations. With context you gain agility and speed of action so you can embrace the unexpected. Gartner, Inc. recently termed this two-speed working as bi-modal IT or bi-modal business.

So, context provides IT teams or any department the opportunity to innovate for the business while keeping the lights on for existing services. You can enhance the perception of IT, improve business productivity and offer guidance that is of genuine value.

Want some specific scenarios about where context fits into your world? Take a look at this video.