Technology can transform how we work, saving time, cost and increasing productivity in more worthwhile areas. As a recruiter speaking to business leaders and the employees, there is sometimes a disconnect between how the decision-makers see the technology being used and how the employees use it and perceive it. This can often be a simple matter of the business leaders not using the technology in the day-to-day operations vs. the employees who need to use it regularly in their daily routines.
The most progressive businesses now have technology think tanks including employees at different stages of their career, and individuals who are more predisposed to play devil's advocate to consider the current use of technology within the company and technologies they could employ in the future.
When considering technology within companies, the following factors need to be considered:
1. Efficiency and implementation in employee routine.
This is the first challenge technology needs to overcome. When deciding to implement technology a business must consider its usage within an employee's daily routine. Is this technology a constant interruption to that routine or does it help streamline or remove requirements of the employee via automation?
- A sign of great technology would usually involve potentially upsetting the routine slightly in the beginning as it is implemented (or not at all), but then it becomes part of the employee's routine and increases efficiency and productivity in the long term. Many integrated technologies such as plugins are a good example along with useful technologies that can be opened and left open on the desktop such as research tools or communication platforms.
- Bad technologies never become part of the routine. Employees must remember to use it, and because of the cost, managers are reminded to remind them, which usually leads to immediate loss of productivity across the workforce with no real upside (as the business eventually decides to remove the technology from day-to-day operations).
2. Security and data protection
Cyber security and data protection are always high on the agenda within businesses. Technology needs to seamlessly integrate within policies on data protection. Much of the information and products within businesses are stored in the cloud. Therefore, it becomes paramount to not only employ strict protections but also consider any technologies they introduce that could reduce the efficiency of their security models.
For many businesses, and especially those with over 300 employees, communication can be one of the largest challenges. Technology needs to change how a company communicates within, and across teams but also with clients, customers, investors, or the public. This goes far beyond video conferencing technologies such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams but can include technologies to share and track projects, tasks, deadlines, and technologies to increase the reach of the company across social media platforms, email, newsletters, and for those companies with a presence in many countries the ability to translate information seamlessly and reduce language barriers.
4. Input vs output vs cost
How much time does it take to utilise this technology vs the time it saves allowing one to invest time in areas of benefit? Also, what is the financial cost vs the potential financial gain? This is not an easy formula to consider because certain businesses value certain outputs more than others.
A good example of this is a technology that performs repetitive tasks thus enabling the employee to work in more suited areas and more likely increases the morale of the employee. If it were to perform this task and enable the employee to increase productivity in areas benefiting their talents, then it could be considered a worthwhile implementation. McKinsey has stated that 45% of all work tasks can be automated. However, this does not necessarily mean that they all should be.
Technology in business is fundamental and one of the more important considerations, however, there is always so much as too much. Businesses are very good at selling the need for certain technologies, and other technologies sell themselves. A business needs to take great strides to ensure the technology it currently uses is fit for its purpose, and technologies it goes on to implement are worthwhile. As mentioned at the beginning, think tanks are a great solution to ensure businesses are tackling these issues with broad insight.