It turns out that people are more willing to lie when it's electronic

It turns out that people are more willing to lie when it’s electronic

Image Credit: Rob King

As the person with the CIO job, one of your ongoing responsibilities is to always be looking for ways to streamline how the company operates. We all know about the importance of information technology and that if applied correctly, we can take multi-step time consuming tasks and turn them into quick and efficient online processes. However, in our quest to create the “paperless” company, is it possible that we just might end up taking things too far?

So What’s The Problem?

Where the person in the CIO position just might run into some problems with their company wide streamlining operations would be in the area of electronic signatures. In the past, we’ve always added a signature to a form in order to ensure that the person who is filling it out feels a personal responsibility for what they have put on the form. By having them place their signature on the form, we are in essence having them tell us “i confirm that the information that I am providing you with is correct to the best of my knowledge.”

Nothing in this world is ever perfect, but this technique of requiring people to add their signature to a form seems to have worked out pretty well over time. However, now we enter the scene as CIOs and one of the areas that we’ve identified as being inefficient are all of the countless paper trails that wind their way through the company. What a lot of us are doing is shifting our companies from having people put pen to paper and instead having them sign electronic forms. There are a lot of different ways that these electronic forms can be signed: a simple checkbox, typed signatures, or even personal identification numbers. The problem that CIOs are running into is that when our signature goes digital, we are more prone to lie.

How To Solve The Signature Problem

What the researchers have discovered is that people feel less committed when they sign something electronically. What this means for the company is that the people who are signing the form may be more likely to lie. Note that this is in contrast to when we are signing something by hand. The researchers who study such things have discovered that when electronic signatures are used, they turn out to be largely ineffective in curbing dishonest behavior.

So what’s going on here? Not only in the workplace, but also in a lot of other areas of our lives we are more and more using e-signatures. What the researchers have discovered should stand as a cautionary tale for CIOs. What they are telling us is that the people that we have signing things feel more removed when they are submitting things electronically. It turns out that when people are asked to sign by hand, it deters them from cheating. However, e-signatures don’t serve as a deterrent at all.

So what’s a CIO to do? Should we drop the concept of e-signatures all together because they are driving user behavior that we don’t really want to encourage? The answer, of course, is no. Instead, we need to listen to what the researchers have discovered. What they have found out is that if users are allowed to draw their own signatures (using a stylus or mouse) it creates more of a connection between the signer and the signature. This seems to complete a step in the mental process that people go through in order to feel as though they are actually signing a real document.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the main responsibilities of a CIO is to always be looking for ways to help the company to streamline its processes. One step in this process can be to turn the manual process of signing a document into the process of using an e-signature to sign electronic documents. The problem with this process is that research has shown that when we are signing things electronically, we are more inclined to lie.

The reason that when we sign things electronically we are more prone to lying is because we don’t feel connected to the signature or to the document. It turns out that it really doesn’t matter how we electronically sign something, checkbox, typing our name, or a personal identification number – we’ll still have a tenancy to lie. Researchers who are studying this problem are telling us that one way to deal with this issue is to have people use a stylus or a mouse to trace their signature. This will allow them to be more connected to the document and less prone to lying.

The march towards turning manual processes into online processes is well underway. We’re not going to be stopping this anytime soon. What this means for CIOs is that we are responsible for finding ways to get the company’s employee’s o view electronic documents as being “real” documents and their electronic signatures as being “real” signatures. The good news is that it looks like this can be done, we just have to find the way that will work the best at our company.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What would be the best way to test to see if your company’s employees lie when they sign something electronically?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the CIO job, you are sitting on a mountain of data about your company’s customers. Every time they purchase your product, call your support department, or even just visit your website because you understand the importance of information technology you collect more and more data about them and about what they are looking for. If your company is like most companies, then your marketing department attempts to use this data to create marketing programs that will connect with your customers. However, is there something more that could be done with all of that data?

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The Internet of things is coming our way – how will this change things?

The Internet of things is coming our way – how will this change things?
Image Credit: cthoyes

If you’ve had the opportunity to pick up just about any IT trade journal lately you have undoubtedly seen an article or two talking about this new thing called the “Internet of things”. What the authors are talking about is the simple fact that because we are currently Internet enabling so many different devices from refrigerators to cars to washing machines, very soon the majority of users on the Internet will no longer be live humans, but rather machines talking to machines. Clearly this is going to change things, but how and what does it mean for CIOs?

Say Goodbye To Your Screen

Right now you and I both use screens to interact with the Internet. No matter if it is the monitor that we have connected to our computer at home, the display on our laptop, tablet, or mobile phone, or the ATM machine’s display that we use when withdrawing money, they are all pretty much the same. As the importance of information technology increases, how we interact with the Internet is one of the things that is going to dramatically change as the Internet of things arrives.

All of those new devices that are now being “Internet enabled” simply do not lend themselves to supporting a standard display. What this means for us as the person with the CIO job is that we are going to have to start to get our workplace ready for a new crop of screen-free interfaces. These new interfaces won’t be controlled by today’s standard keyboard or mouse controls. Instead, they’ll use voice commands, gesture controls, or may simply react to data that has been presented to them by a network of sensors.

Since you are the person in the CIO position, you’ll have to be the one to answer the question of how these changes are going to impact your company. If you had left it up to me, I would have told you that I thought that people would have been quite attached to their screens and unwilling to let them go. It turns out that I would have been wrong. Surveys that have been taken of current computer users revealed that users prefer interfaces that operate both invisibly and which use natural human movements to determine what we want computers to do.

The Interfaces Of Tomorrow

So if today’s monitor based interfaces are not going to cut it in tomorrow’s Internet of Things based world, then what kind of interfaces will we be using? The answer, it turns out, is potentially many different types of interfaces. One such interface is called an ambient notification interface. This type of interface simply changes color based on what information it wants to convey to you. As an example of this, if you received a high priority email, it could turn red. If you got a text message from a family member, it could turn green. Clearly you would still need to have a monitor, but you would no longer feel the need to be constantly checking your monitor to see if you have received any new information.

Another type of interface that will probably be showing up shortly will be the gesture control interface. We’ve already been introduced to this type of interface by Nintendo’s Wii game system and Microsoft’s Kinect game system. This kind of interface requires that we wear some sort of armband that allows the system to sense the movement of your hand and fingers so that the system can allow your entire body to act as a form of a remote control. This type of interface allows us to interact with the world in a way that feels very natural to us.

Another type of new interface takes the concept of gesture control interfaces to it’s natural conclusion. The creation of wearables has been made possible by advances in the shrinkage of both sensors and computing hardware. This is allowing technology to start to be embedded into jewelry, eyeglasses, and shirts. These types of interfaces allow technicians to “see” instruction manuals when making repairs, track where employees currently are and if they are moving, and can acquire environmental information and share it with the wearer.

What All Of This Means For You

There is a revolution that is going to be coming our way and it is called the “Internet of things”. Devices that we may already be using are going to start to be plugged into the Internet and then they will be able to share information with us. In order to interact with this new wave of Internet enabled devices, our traditional way of interfacing with devices is going to have to change. Out with monitors and in with new interfaces.

The new wave of devices that are going to be connected to the Internet don’t have the capability to support a monitor like we are used to. This means that you are going to have some CIO decisions to make. It’s going to be out with keyboards and mice and in with new types of interfaces. These new interfaces may consist of ambient systems, gesture control systems, and wearables. Each one of these operates in a different way, but they all allow their user to interact with a part of the Internet of things without having to use a traditional computer display.

Depending on your age, we’ve all been through this before. First it was the introduction of mice, next came video game controllers, and most recently touch screens on PCs. The changes that the Internet of things will cause will require us to once again make changes to how we go about interacting with the computers in our lives. As your company’s CIO, you’re going to need to keep your eyes open and make some important decisions regarding which set of interfaces is going to the right ones for your business.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What would be the best way to start to try out new interfaces as they become available?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the CIO job, one of your ongoing responsibilities is to always be looking for ways to streamline how the company operates. We all know about the importance of information technology and that if applied correctly, we can take multi-step time consuming tasks and turn them into quick and efficient online processes. However, in our quest to create the “paperless” company, is it possible that we just might end up taking things too far?

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