Technology as an Impediment
Technology is great and makes a lot of things possible but at times it can simply get in the way. Here are some of my favorite (or maybe least favorite) examples of technology as an impediment.
- I know of a company that has numerous communication methods including a private chat channel in addition to email, text and voice mail, but it doesn’t matter how many electronic communication methods one has if the answer to an “either or” question is “yes”. It’s also a problem if people just don’t bother to answer.
- Recently I tried to schedule a meeting and was informed that I used the wrong calendar link – really, you have more than one!? The most organized executive I know uses a paper based calendar. He never misses a meeting and life seems to run like clockwork.
- In an attempt to automate the accounting processes, a client (against my advice) set up a system where items come through a bill paying service and are automagically loaded into the accounting system (usually incorrectly forcing someone to find and fix the errors rather than doing it right the first time). If you’re going to automate steps, you need to take the time to make sure it’s done correctly and the time to maintain the process.
- Then there is the company where documents are stored on Google Drive, or Box, or OneDrive or some other place. It’s great (not really) if you can actually find what you are looking for which always takes too much time.
- Software only adds value if you use it. I once had a sales executive come to me asking that we buy salesforce so I asked the IT Director what it would cost. His response: “Ken, we already own it, no one ever uses it.”
- Another company puts all of their documents into an electronic scanning and storage system. They go in easy enough, but every time I ask about getting something out, it seems to be a bit of a problem.
- And then there are the exceedingly long text messages, unedited, often with numerous voice to text translation errors. I use voice to text while in my car the to say things like “On my way but running five minutes late”.
- Just because a piece of software is popular doesn’t mean that it’s actually good. I can think of a few that are used because they are the cheapest. A few more dollars invested in something better would be money well spent.
Technology is great but only when it is used as a tool facilitate actually accomplishing something. It’s a means to an end. Using any piece of technology just for the sake of doing so usually results in less as opposed to more efficiency. The best solutions are ones that allows human capital (which is almost always the most expensive and valuable capital in a company) to work in the most efficient manner possible. I’m all for investing in better technology but I’m also in favor of dumping technology that gets in the way. Let me know what you think.
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