Technology changes the way in which we work, live our lives, and have fun. Technology can empower businesses with improvements in productivity, faster development and production cycles, superior decision making by employees, and enhanced customer service. But deriving these benefits from incorporating new technology is not at all times a clean process. Technology is often, initially, disruptive before it becomes empowering.
Although the ideas developed in this article could have general applicability, they are mainly intended to connect with the incorporation of new information and communications technologies into business processes. Information technologies involve computers and their peripheral equipment as well as the information flow across local area networks. Communications involve any voice and video activity including the telephone system and related equipment as well as the communications pathways creating the wide area networks.
Technology Changes Business Processes
Every action conducted within a small business is part of one process or another. Sometimes the processes are often defined and readily observable, as in the trail of a purchase order. At other times, the procedure is not too clear however it still exists even when by default.
New technologies are introduced into business to:
Accelerate existing processes
Extend the capabilities of existing processes
Change the processes
In changing the processes, the newest technologies will often allow new means of conducting business which were not previously possible.
Other than speeding up existing processes, new technologies will soon be disruptive when first introduced.This results from having to change patterns of behavior and/or relationships with others. When disruption occurs, productivity often suffers initially, until such time as the newest processes become as familiar as the old ones. At this time, hopefully, the goal has been achieved of reaching an increased degree of productivity compared to the level of which it started ahead of the introduction of the newest technology.
Therefore a common cycle that happens with the introduction of new technologies includes:
Lower productivity, and, finally,
An increased plateau of productivity compared to the starting point
The obvious goals for introducing new technologies are to:
Minimize the disruption
Minimize enough time it will take to increase productivity
Maximize the gain in productivity
In achieving these goals it is helpful to know the:
Context in that the processes operate, that is, who will soon be impacted by changes in the precise processes affected
Democratizing potential of technology
Kinds of people that’ll react in completely different approaches to new technologies
The processes by which a business operates and the introduction of new technologies do not exist in isolation.These two exist within a context that may be part of and affect
The social relationships inside an organization and possibly with companies with whom you conduct business
Political (power) structures inside an organization
How individuals view themselves and their abilities
Technology may be democratizing. If it is used to create and disseminate information helpful to the mission and goals of the business, it can be a great equalizer between “levels” of management and staff. The main element word is “disseminate.” technology If usage of the data is decentralized, and easy communication of the data is allowed, then “front line” workers can improve the amount and quality of decisions they make without having to involve layers of management.
Kinds of People from a Technology Perspective
From a perspective of introducing new technology into your company, you may find it helpful to know the next four kinds of people:
Innovators/embracers will investigate new technologies on their own. They’ll sometimes be helpful to introducing new technologies that could otherwise not have been recognized to the company. They’ll sometimes be a “thorn” in pushing for new technologies they believe will soon be useful (or just “neat” to have) but do unfit the company’s agenda or objectives. These individuals will embrace new technologies when introduced by others, will often be the very first ones to totally incorporate and take advantage of it, and may help others to totally utilize new technologies.
Enthusiasts will accept new technology enthusiastically. They won’t usually seek it out but will soon be eager to include it within their processes where appropriate. Consequently of these openness, they’ll often readily learn how to use the new technology and are often useful in assisting others through the learning process.