“Have you tried turning it on and off again?”
That’s the famous line from the British comedy series “The IT Crowd” featuring the antics of a company’s tech support fielding calls from helpless coworkers with computer troubles.
It is a truism in business that technology, in whatever form, makes everybody’s job faster and easier. Enterprises often take off when they’ve found a way to maximize technology to increase their productivity, bring down their costs, optimize operations, or give them a competitive edge.
But all that benefit can only be harnessed, when available tech is properly deployed. When everybody has the same tool, the company that wields it best will win.
Unfortunately, not all businesses are as adept with tech as they need to be. So here, we look at some of the mistakes businesses make when adopting new technology (software or hardware) and look into ways they can truly harness the power that’s in their hands.
5 Tech Mistakes Businesses Make (and what to do instead)
1) Taking security for granted.
Small businesses don’t consider cybersecurity a top priority until they get hacked. That’s when this lesson is learned–when it’s already too late.
Big businesses that have already been through this utilise the best security tools in the market. So hackers have also wised up and have turned to small and medium-sized enterprises that don’t know just how important data storage and protection are.
According to Verizon, 61% of SMBs experienced cyberattacks in 2021, giving a picture of just how rampant attacks are.
It’s no small matter to be targeted when we realize that 60% of small businesses who get attacked go out of business within 6 months. The compounding effects of lost business opportunities, damage to reputation, and downtime can make a comeback very difficult. It’s estimated that data breaches cost the company as much as $3 million per incident.
Take cybersecurity seriously by practising (time-consuming but) better-safe-than-sorry habits:
- back up your data
- encrypt communications
- use 2-factor authentication
- use strong passwords (regularly changed)
- limit the devices that can connect to your network
- train staff on cybersecurity best practices
2) Inadequate staff training.
Technology, no matter how advance it is, will always have a human element. This is where competitive companies distinguish themselves, with the people running the technology. Because two organizations could get the same software package, for example, but they could be night and day when it comes to people.
Oftentimes, companies act like Boomers who use their smartphones only to receive calls and texts—which is only the bare minimum of what the tech can do. Companies are leaving so much profit and productivity on the table by not maximizing technology already in their hands. It’s like having a complete set of tools in your toolbox but only ever using the hammer to build the house.
This is where comprehensive and continuous training comes in.
To do tech right, an organization must ensure that its people are intimately familiar with the “bells and whistles” of the newfangled equipment, software and hardware. It must take an aggressive and active role in helping employees become more productive. (Sometimes, companies think they’re “spoiling” employees when they try to make the job easier for them. In truth, helping employees positively impact your bottom line.)
Here are some things companies can do:
- make training and learning part of the company ethos
- encourage the frictionless flow of information and best practices
- encourage teamwork
- insist on continuous training from the vendor
- encourage the frequent use of tech support
- maintain and upgrade software and equipment consistently
3) Skimping/Overspending on tech
Price can be deceiving. For example, one tech solution might be cheaper and could be the way to go, but could ironically be more expensive in the long run.
The cheaper option might lock you out of features and functions that are the most vital to the business.
An organization might opt for the “personal” free tier, when, for only a marginal fee, it can upgrade to a “business” account and enjoy much more robust features and services.
On the other hand, a company can purchase the most expensive option and pay for services and features that will never be used, or pay for capacity so beyond what’s practicable for the organization.
So buying tech should be a matter of fit. Price is only one of the factors to consider. “Value” and the transformative properties of tech should be factored in.
4) Using tech for tech’s sake
Organizations should be circumspect when engaging with new technology and not just get into it because it’s trendy. As awesome as many of the available equipment, gadgets, and software are, they can also have many (unforeseen) negative impacts:
- Tech can become a distraction.
- Tech can needlessly add complexity to operations.
- Tech can require investments that are better used elsewhere.
- Tech can impact your price structure and production schedule negatively.
- Tech can lead you away from your planned strategy.
- Tech can make you lose your original competitive edge.
- Tech can hinder or dull the potential of human talent in the organization.
- Tech can lump all creative competitors into the box of “sameness” and uniformity.
It’s not given enough thought and emphasis, but technology, in whatever form, has its own baggage. If organizations fall into the novelty trap, they might be shooting themselves in the foot and only realize it much later.
Tech for its own sake, without any clear, inherent advantages and benefits could impact the organization in ways unintended. So businesses should be sober and sure, with eyes wide open, when taking in tech.
5) Over-reliance on technology.
What happens when a business’ one machine breaks down and spare parts are set to arrive 8 weeks (at the earliest)?
Or imagine a small operation that makes most of its money from one platform, and that platform suddenly bans the label.
Over-reliance on tech can decapitate a thriving enterprise in more ways than one.
For example, technology has a lock-in period. You invested all this money in equipment or software etc. Be sure that the trend doesn’t suddenly go against you. You don’t want to be paying instalments for 10 years only for the equipment to be obsolete after 5.
Technology, especially equipment, can also lock you in a very specific production process. And these machines will have specific material requirements, energy requirements, a profitable schedule and batch size, etc. (That is the nature of machines!)
If you don’t meet these requirements, your production will be delayed, suboptimal, or worse, incur a financial loss. (So as mentioned, be circumspect when buying hardware.)
The software equivalent of this would be getting locked into a specific vendor’s tech specifications and having system and network incompatibilities with other clients and vendors. (You know this is by design.)
Technology, while immensely useful, does have its pitfalls.
But all that said, it remains true that technology has made wondrous advances in the previous decade. It has increased productivity several times fold, increased efficiency by as much, and has made for highly competitive businesses and industries.
Because of technology, we can do things we have never even thought possible.
Our business, Kinetic Innovative Staffing, owes its existence to wondrous advancements in technology. We help businesses around the world find remote workers. Because of technology, roles like graphic design, social media moderation, content writing, customer service, app development, etc. can be done outside the walls of an office.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing helps companies hire remote workers at a fraction of the costs, which means our clients save hundreds even thousands of dollars each month.
This is all thanks to technology.
Interested? Contact us now.
Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.