In this blog entry, XML Consultant Don Bridges gives his thoughts on why spending money on a technology-based solution may not always be the answer.
Technology to the Rescue
It’s easy to get caught up in the use of technology to solve our business problems. In the world of technical communication and field service there have been significant technical innovations to improve efficiency and reduce costs. XML has made the concepts of content reuse (using the same ‘chunk’ of information in multiple instances) and content re-purposing (having the same information output in multiple formats – PDF, web, etc.) available to organizations of all sizes. Mobile devices have allowed field techs to quickly access the information that was once found in large books and parts catalogs. The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to make predictive maintenance a reality.
Good project management always includes a thorough postmortem of the project: what went well and what could have been done better. Lessons learned. A frequent refrain is not that the technology was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but rather how the human side of the process was managed. Organizations competing in today’s rapidly changing technological markets are faced with the challenges of “dualism”–operating efficiently in the present while innovating effectively for the future. Managers and leaders within these organizations not only have to focus on current market success and profitability, but they must also introduce the next generation of technical advances, product attributes, or service features that will sustain and even augment their continuing global competitiveness.
Managing It All
You may want to read “The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation: A Collection of Readings” by Ralph Katz (MIT). The book provides a collection of articles that increase the sensitivity and understanding of individuals who are managing or influencing innovation and change processes within organizations. It also offers practicing managers and staff professionals new ideas, tools, and insights for problem-solving, organizing, and functioning more effectively.