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Technology to the Rescue

by Baker Matthias

In today’s day and age, we have technology all around us. This is a very good thing and a very bad thing. It’s very good because some forms of technology can really help us out in our day-to-day tasks. For example, I’m typing of this article using voice recognition software. I find it increases my article writing speed at least threefold. Also as a secondary benefit I have less spelling errors as well as the voice-recognition software corrects my grammar in a lot of cases. So in this case technology is a really great thing.

But there’s a dark side to technology as well. I’ve worked as an information technology manager for many years and have witnessed this phenomenon firsthand. People will think that they can use technology to fix people problems. Unfortunately this is not the case. For example, I was working with a call center that was having problems with its staff that was answering the phones. The staff would spend excessive amounts of time surfing the Internet and not answering phones. I was approached and asked if I could find some way to monitor and restrict Internet access. It was a reasonable request but first I recommended that they talk to their people. I remind them of the fact that performing such an action could cause further resentment by the people in the call center as they would see it as a policing action.

So instead of addressing the issue at hand the solution will only aggravate the current situation. In the end, the manager of the call center did talk to the people and also reminded the people that they were being monitored and there was an expectation of performance within the roles of their position. This simple speech probably cleared up 95% of the problem. Unfortunately the last 5% required more drastic measures. This is just a quick example I’ve seen this same situation time and time again. People want to use technology to avoid people problems.

So you must always ask yourself, will technology help me here or will cause me more problems because I have a personal problem not a technology problem. On another point, it’s good to listen to people when they do bring new technology to you. You’ll be amazed what people can find the one hand it’s everybody’s work life tremendously. Some of the best recommendations that I’ve seen have come from people worked for me. So taking the time to listen to recommendations by the members of your staff can be extremely beneficial to your organization as a whole.

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