Driving change: My new relationship with Uber and Workday

Mobile device

After having jobs that demanded travel – often extensive travel – for the past 20 years, I’m embarrassed to admit that I was slow to adopt Uber. All my young co-workers who are open to change and embracing the latest technology were well ahead of me getting on board. They sent me countless invitations to join Uber.

I resisted. What I have always done had worked.

But as a career-long traveler, I have to tell you, this is an amazing use of technology. I am hooked. I’ve had an epiphany.

The good old days

Keep in mind, when I started all this travel, there were no cell phones or GPS devices. My challenge was finding you – and if you were a taxi driver or a hotel shuttle driver or a co-worker with the rental car – you couldn’t find me.

So maps were my friends. I had to leave room in my briefcase for them. Those map printers at Hertz counters were literally a survival kit. And I had to leave time before every trip to map out and print directions to where I was going – the college, the hotel, the airport and restaurants in the area. Sometimes I had to splurge and rent a car with one of those fancy GPS devices – but my company at that time quickly figured out how to control that extra expense, so it was back to maps.

A sense of direction is not my strong suit, so I’m rather proud of how often I arrived at my destinations on time the old-fashioned way.

What technology disruption gives you: Time

All this got me to thinking. My “business process workflow” before I leave for a business trip has changed drastically.

With credit cards so prolific, I don’t travel with cash, so I no longer make a trip to the bank before I depart. With GPS in my phone, I no longer look at maps. With travel booking technology, I don’t enter all the calendar info – I just save the calendar entries. With emails on my device – with or without internet access – summarizing where I’m supposed to be, I often book flights to the closest city and then sit with coffee in the airport, figuring out exactly where I’m supposed to be and where we need to ship my great giveaways and booth essentials for the next trade show or conference. I’m checking into my flights online and not printing boarding passes. I’ve cut out standing in lines in lots of places in the airport. And I pack lighter, since I try to avoid checking bags.

All that saves me time. And, honestly, that means I’m more productive at work. In fact, I was able to write this blog post because I saved so much time getting ready for my latest trip.

That’s why staying current with technology is so important to higher ed institutions. Do you want your employees studying maps, running to the bank and searching for student files or do you want them talking with students?

It’s an easy choice. And it goes beyond travel. Think about all the time people on your campus spend looking for/copying/filing the most current information. Now think about how much more productive they could be if that information was at their fingertips?

I’m never going back

Probably the best sign that my Uber experience has been a positive disruption is that, based on just my first trip, I will never, ever go back to the old model. I have no desire to rent a car or hand my credit card to someone and keep track of the receipt.

For that matter, I have no desire to go back to all those old travel habits. No desire to study maps or carry cash or enter specifics on my calendar. Remember how we used to print boarding passes? Not going back to that. But oh, the memories, like when my printer would run out of magenta, and therefore, I couldn’t print that pass. Even though I was trying to print in black and white.

Well, there is one thing I would like to go back to – not hauling my luggage. That would be nice. Airlines must be so proud of themselves for figuring out how to make us carry our luggage and therefore repurpose staff in other ways.

But I really found Uber so easy. It’s a great user experience. It has a great UI (user interface). You put your credit card on file and you just say “Pick me up.” Sometimes, I don’t really know in any kind of detail where I am. Not to worry, the driver accesses my GPS and pulls right up.

I would love to sit down with the people who conceived Uber. I know it’s controversial, and I still love taxi drivers. I recently used a taxi at the airport because it was sitting there waiting for me. But the app and the technology that drives the whole Uber concept is astounding.

And you can’t make this stuff up. I admitted to my Uber driver that this was my first time. You know what she told me? It was her first day as an Uber driver! We had a successful experience, both of us, that first time. She’s doing it to earn some extra spending money for Christmas, and she earned it. She was fabulous: 5 stars.

I think that’s proof of a great solution.

Driving disruption on campus with Workday

So, where did this Uber discovery happen? Where did this business trip take me?

The answer is… Louisiana State University for the final Workday Student Design event. As Workday closes phase 1 of its journey with higher ed customers to design a new disruptive student information system, I was there as a Workday Solution Partner to show these innovative customers how OnBase can help them reimagine the student experience and create a digital transformation on campus.

We talked about how to leverage technology every way possible. We shared our thoughts along with the University of Rochester’s fabulous student team.

Then it hit me. You know one thing that Uber and Workday have in common? A mobile-first approach. I’ve heard people from Workday talk about how their solution design always starts with the mobile device in mind. So did Uber.

It was so easy to download the app. More importantly, it was easy to use it. Just like Workday. That’s the mark of true innovation.

At Hyland, we’re all about innovation, which is why we have partnered with Workday. Integrating OnBase with Workday consolidates and streamlines your information. OnBase connects critical content with Workday transactions, ensuring staff has the most up-to-date information to complete processes. That, in turn, allows staff members more time to focus on higher-value tasks, like student service.

As I returned home to my family after my business trip, I was thankful for all the time-saving technology surrounding us, as it gives us all more time to do what matters most.

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more than 20 years of experience working to map proven solutions to higher education challenges, Laurel implemented ERP solutions at Dickinson College and University of Oregon Foundation before joining the sales and marketing team at Datatel, now Ellucian, Inc. Laurel offers a deep understanding of higher education, dedication to transparency and a fondness for candid conversations about the solutions Hyland develops and delivers to the market. You may reach her at Laurel.Stiller at onbase.com.

Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more... read more about: Laurel Stiller