I recently had a great conversation with Tom, the head of global desktop architecture at one of the world’s largest financial institutions. He attended the Angelbeat 2010 seminar and got a lot of good insights around wireless and security. This proved extremely useful when the CEO bought a first generation iPad and pushed his boss (the CIO) to make email work on the tablet. But the IT organization was nonetheless reacting to a Line-of-Business (LOB) request.

Four years later – and after hearing comments from me and other Angelbeat presenters about IT organizations pro-actively driving workforce productivity – Tom told me about a great project that he initiated with real estate. They conducted a study and determined that on any given day, 36% of their workforce is not at their desk: traveling, on vacation, sick, meeting with clients, etc. So the company is theoretically leasing 1/3 more space – in very expensive metropolitan cities – than it needs, at a cost of billions of dollars.

Tom proposed that the company use a hotel-style system, whereby individuals would no longer have an assigned desk, desktop PC and dedicated phone. Instead IT would enable the iPad (or laptop or even a smartphone) to become the center of a flexible voice/data/video unified communications platform. With a robust wifi infrastructure, complemented by enhanced security, individuals would be assigned an open desk and use their iPad to do their jobs. To make phone calls (all done over wifi) just use a bluetooth earpiece, or if a traditional handset was preferred then an iPad docking station was available (see photo above). Traditional keyboards and larger display monitors could be “checked out”, as these items are needed to efficiently “produce” content (versus just reading/browsing the web).

Over the next ten years, IT projects total savings (from consolidating offices and reducing the total square footage of leases) in excess of $3 Billion.

What a great success story that we can all learn from!