The folks at Dell continue to push the envelope in the area of social media and recently came out with their perspective – or manifesto of guiding principles – on supporting an increasingly mobile workforce. Check out the post here. [Full disclosure: Until several months ago, I worked at Dell in the social media team and was involved in defining and implementing the company’s social media strategy.] Dell’s ideas are insightful and provide a good roadmap for any organization trying to address the ubiquity of mobile devices, digital content and peripatetic workers. Perhaps their smartest move is to look at the issue from the perspective of the end-user, rather than the IT geeks or corporate leaders.

What really hit home after reading this post is how far some companies are lagging in this race for relevance and connectivity with workers. While some companies are juggling which multimedia device or platform to use (iPhone or 3G phone?) others are simply trying to get their workforce connected to the internet…or even intranet…through clunky old computer terminals. The idea of cell phones for their workforce is still years away. There are many reasons for this digital divide – culture, cost, geography – but the biggest may simply be awareness. Keeping up with the Web 2.0 revolution is a challenge – even for IT departments – and many organizations are hard-pressed to keep updated on trends and developments, let alone try to explain them to their leaders. The saving grace of the rapid progress is that it may be possible to skip some steps in the race to get workers connected – the solution today (PDAs) may be replaced by a better one tomorrow (the next version of iPhone.) The biggest mistake, however, would be to just give up.