Facing challenges goes hand-in-hand with running a small or medium business, and as the years pass, the challenges change depending on where we are in our various stages of growth. I have been extremely fortunate over the last ten years of running an IT company to have multiple opportunities to assist various customers during their strategic planning sessions. During this time, two things have become clearer; Firstly, technology is now pretty well central to the core of a business. Secondly, when addressing the topic of technology, it is often fraught with frustration, and annoyance.
Why is that?
The technology used by businesses has for so long been outright confusing, hard to grasp, often counter-intuitive, poorly integrated and what many amusingly describe as a necessary evil. To fully utilise technology, one has felt like they needed a degree from NASA, thus given up for the most part. In turn, technology has then been something that we relegate to the corner where it hopefully doesn’t annoy anyone…too much.
Will this ever change?
The good news is that the technology platforms of today are designed for people. Let me give you an example. I have a fairly modest car, nothing too flash, but it is modern. When I get into my car, I press a button that adjusts my seating position automatically to where I like it. I then don’t even have to do anything with a key, I just press another button, and I am off.
I looked up the brochure for my car, which has an exhaustive list of technical safety features: ABS, ESC, AEB, LDW, BSM, FMS, and the list goes on. So when I get into my car, it is not like the cockpit of an aeroplane where I have hundreds of switches, and I then have to engage all the above features performing an exhaustive pre-flight checklist. The technology in my car is designed for me, meaning that all I have to do is start it, drive it, and all the complexity happens automagically behind the scenes.
The new benchmark…
This experience is repeated continually in our personal lives. With our TV’s and technology devices at home. Or when ordering a Pizza or a Taxi, which shows you where the driver is with respect to your current location. The technology in the palm of our hands at home is the new benchmark.
So how about technology in your office?
It is the new benchmark that pressures business owners to match the experience and expectations at the office. But as a business owner, you can make technology work for you. The good news is that you no longer need to fear technology, feel like you are working for it or have been left out in the dark.
We discover that as technology is now more complex, the paradox is that the user no longer needs to be technical. The technology works for the user, not the other way around.
The positive new world…
As an employer, this is great news. If you think about the staff you hire, you no longer need to hire people who have to both understand the underlying technology as well as be capable of using it. You are freed up to hire people who have the necessary skills to perform the key processes in your business, who know their intended job function, and are capable of simply getting things done.
Employees who can focus on their job function is important in today’s fast changing world. Think about your business, your competitors and just how hard it is to keep up or stay ahead. Anything we can do or change that gives us more time back, makes us more productive, or helps us to be more responsive and attuned to the needs of our customers is in itself a differentiator.
But like all things in our lives, we are repeatedly told that we need to find the right balance. If I can borrow that sentiment, it is also important with technology. Integrating the right technology, in the right way, is what will transform your workplace enabling a positive experience of technology that truly works for you. The skill in finding the right balance comes from an IT partner who is capable of aligning technology outcomes to your strategic plan. But before all this can happen, it will always start with your vision of the future, and knowing your needs and being able to articulate your passion.