Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tech and the bigger picture

With all of the energy around new tech nowadays, it's important for all of us to remember that tech is only part of it. As with any tool, it's success is dependent on a variety of factors including:
  • the institutional buy-in driving the project
  • the plan
  • and ongoing refinement
Institutional support is by far one of the biggest drivers of success of any implementation of technology. Corporate intranets are a prime example of this. For example, if your boss and their boss do not participate, why would you? According to my cousin who works with a university partnership with city schools, if there is no institutional support on the part of city schools, the projects by and large fail.

As for tech being only so good as the plan, this is pretty basic. An organization might say, "I want to buy xbox 360s for everyone on my team." Well, unless there is a reason, cost justification, overall plan to use them in relation to the function of the job and the like, it's simply not going to fly.

Ongoing refinement. As anyone who has ever used technology knows, the second you buy it, there's a newer and better product on the market. This is not meant to say that you must always buy new tech (though upgrades should be part of the standard operating process), however, there needs to be someone, or a team of folks constantly evaluating the existing tech, what's out there on the horizon, and overall, trying to get the most out of what tech you do have as it relates to your work. In many ways, this step is essentially ongoing management; it stresses the importance of ensuring that the current goals are met, while evaluating what's out there to make things even better for you and the organization.

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