Make Your Digital World Efficient and Convenient

With technology, we’ve often learned the hard way, the upside gain is by no means always worth the downside risk, despite what the tech industry says. And technology is full of jargon like “upside gain,” which we will try to spare you.

In environmental terms, information technology has been a boon. It has helped save enormous costs in office products alone. Routine and even legal tasks are now easily performed by nonspecialists with the aid of fairly easy to use software suites. Inventory control for businesses of all sizes is now mainly a data-entry chore, after which all sorts of analytic tools are available, many in full color with graphics designed for the technology-averse.

Try to view technology as a valuable employee, someone you can trust but who you don’t yet know how to harness to the best of their abilities. You are the boss. If it’s unruly, doesn’t obey the house rules or your directives, creates dissention in the ranks, takes unscheduled days off, hurts your reputation, fire them and find a solution that fits. A good term for this is “rightsize,” as opposed to “wrongsize.” If you can’t figure this out on your own, a good tech planning consultant will be worth every penny. Don’t hesitate to search for one outside the area. Consultation by Zoom works fine.

If you can make a big gain in “efficiency”—a term that can be measured any number of ways, but should always include environmental impact—carefully assess its impact on your customers. If that’s minimal, go for it. The transition from cash to electronic payment, for example, is still being resisted in some quarters because of fears that customers don’t want to adapt and the customer is always right. Rather than hold back vital progress where it’s needed to accommodate a few, figure out how to accommodate the few—even individually, if necessary—while giving your business the benefits of living in a digital world. A loyal-for-decades client is probably worth the extra effort, even if it means delivering handwritten paper bills in person.

It’s not necessary to be the local technology leader, but you’ll be doing no one any favors by being the last analog holdout.