Before I left for Kenya with the Softchoice Cares mission to build a computer lab and library for the village of Maai Mahiu, my enthusiasm was tempered a bit by my concern for being away for 2 weeks from my clients – and deals – back home.
As an Account Manager at Corporate HQ in Toronto, my daily job performance is measured by key sales metrics and driving results for my clients. I had just a bit of anxiety around how I would effectively manage my core KPIs while I was away. I was also worried about coming home to big gaps in my metrics (especially so close to month- and quarter-end). While my emotional focus was clearly on our mission in Kenya, that part of me driven by achievement and results was stuck back in Toronto.
A week before I left, I received my Softchoice Choose your own device, an HP Elitepad900. The choice to go with a tablet in the CYOD program meant I would have a light, portable device to bring with me to client meetings, while offering me a full windows ability to maintain my work sheets and notes.
I had the tablet imaged with service desk before I left so I’d have access to the apps I needed to connect back with our systems in Toronto. I had planned to leave my personal devices at home too, so I was really putting all my trust in one device.
How the Elitepad performed half a world away
I have to say, I tested the limits of this little machine. Not only did I drag this through dusty, dirty area’s of the village each day, but I needed it to be rugged enough for when I (accidentally) dropped my laptop bag those two (okay… three) times.
I also had the challenge of finding a local internet signal capable of sustaining the dataflow I needed to blog, skype with family, and yes, monitor and maintain my accounts (through applications like CRM, our ERP systems, and email). Other people had cell phones to use, but they could barely find signal to get connection. My Elitepad, however, seemed to be one of the few devices that were able to successfully make – and sustain – an Internet connection that allowed me (and my friends) to connect to the outside world.
Once I got over my initial Windows 8 handicap, I was shocked how easy it was to do this work abroad. So much worrying for nothing! The fact that I could travel thousands of miles to perform humanitarian work- and still maintain my corporate responsibilities – was critical in making this Softchoice Cares mission such a life changing experience for me.
If you have any questions about CYO, feel free to comment below. You can also discover what our CYO participants are talking about on Twitter by following the hashtag #SCYO