Does technology rule your world or do you? Five steps to help you control technology.
Technology surrounds us. Many of us consider ourselves in control, but are we really? I think the answer for 99% of the population and companies is NO. We all pursue the “shiny dime.” The next new hardware gadget or software application that will work and make our lives better and friction-free. Whether it’s a newer calendar application, the new Artificial Intelligence application that will make our writing simpler, or the newest version of the computer, none of them live up to their promise. Why?
Technology doesn’t satisfy us. To make technology work, we must first think through our systems, and processes, identify the issue we’re trying to fix, and understand how the new technology will fit in.
The five steps to technology control
- Understand the system and the problem you’re trying to solve.
- What’s the process or problem that you’re trying to fix? For example, yesterday I missed a meeting that I had put on my calendar. The problem for me is that my calendar doesn’t present these meetings front and center so I can see them. To solve this problem, I could look for a new calendar application, see if my calendar application has a reminder function, or find another solution. The point is, you must understand the problem before you change your technology.
- How will the technology help solve the problem and fit into your systems?
- We’re offering new technology regularly and some early adopters will sing the praises of it on social media to encourage you to get it. For example, I got an ad for a new software application for meetings today. It’s supposed to replace zoom. I don’t have a problem with zoom, but my techno-nerd tendencies want to try it out to see what it does differently. But I think I will resist because I don’t have a problem that I need to fix.
- What’s the learning curve for the new technology?
- Most of us ignore this step. We get a new application, use it for what we wanted, and never explore its depths. I have numerous note-taking applications that I have downloaded and discarded because they appear not to do what I wanted. Probably, if I had spent the time learning how to use them, I would have found they worked fine.
- Another example is an application from the Neat company that I have been using for over 10 years. At tax time, when I wanted to download all my receipts, the application would only download 100 at a time. This was a major irritation for me. But after 10 years, I finally found out I could run a report to get what I wanted.
- Are the benefits of the new technology going to solve a problem that you have or create new ones?
- Any time you make a change, whether introducing new technology or not. There are always unintended consequences. You need to take the time to find and iron out the new problems you didn’t anticipate. Perhaps you need more questions and how to find the answers to sessions or better procedures. You need to implement then review and solve problems until you can step back and call it a success.
- Three months later, did it work?
- It is always worth your time to take a look after some time has passed to see if the problem was solved. If it was fine. But, if not, what do I need to do to get back on course?