A Question of Browsers and Organization Productivity

Two posts on Mark Oehlert’s blog caught my eye today. In his post about Ubiquity user-generated mashups plugin for Firefox browser, Mark wonders why organizations standardize on IE when a much better product is available at the same cost (free). I responded on his blog and realized this could be a post of its own.

As I wrote in my post on why workplace learning is largely 1.0, here are some of the reasons for organizations standardizing on IE:

  1. I guess the fact that the OS comes preloaded with a browser might have something to do with this.
  2. We are lazy and don’t really want to take the pain of installing a new browser, especially when we don’t know the advantages.
  3. We are too lazy to learn new tools. After all just installing Firefox is not enough. Vanilla Firefox will not provide the advantages that it does with plugins added.
  4. We don’t pay attention to teaching using tools like a ‘browser’. Have you ever seen training on browser on any corporate productivity improvement training? Good case for ‘Work Literacy‘ like initiatives!!!
  5. The new plugins (like the Ubiquity) don’t come with “business” or “corporate” examples in their videos. Heck I won’t be able to make a good business case with the above video of showing that Firefox will improve productivity when the video talks about using mash ups to identify restaurants near you.
  6. Applications run only on IE. Many (I am guessing all though I haven’t tested all) internal application in our organization don’t run very well on Firefox. So I need to have both browsers even though I use Firefox as my main browser of use.
  7. In any case we don’t want employees to fritter away their time browsing. After all they should be doing something productive like work rather than browsing.

Wearing a corporate hat, having Firefox instead of IE has no advantage unless I integrate my training, applications and way of working to take advantage of the new tool. And, again wearing a corporate hat, perhaps the advantage is not worth the effort, or we don’t know about it.

Personally I started using Firefox primarily because IE 7 was hanging on me more often than I liked, and haven’t looked back since (except when I need to use internal applications). However I have seen a sum total of only one other person in our organization using Firefox.