Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Don't Believe The Hype - Bigger, Better, Faster Isn't Always the Best

A book called Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change recently caught my attention and got me thinking about why companies choose a technology solution to improve their business processes. Is it because of some mysterious, magnetic draw to having the latest and greatest technology present in their organizations or is there an actual need that must be fulfilled.

In the work I do, I help people identify and validate actual needs as it applies to technology in their organizations. If performance can be improved by integrating a technology solution, then we have a good fit provided the needs of the end-user are considered equally to the needs of the business. However, it's been my experience that the pressure to "keep up with the Jones'" and "because everyone else is doing it" tends to drive most business decisions when it comes to technology.

In a previous post, I discussed how solutions should be driven by a true understanding of the job that is being conducted by the end-user, what outcomes they expect and which obstacles they hope to overcome using a technology solution. Having the latest and greatest when it comes to technology isn't always the answer and will not improve performance if three previously mentioned factors are not considered.

In Future Hype, author Bob Seidensticker breaks many myths around technology. One of those is the value people place on Moore's Law. Some industries that rely on computer technology need all the processing speed they can get, like the banking industry for example. On the end-user level (the interface), where the interaction occurs, it's not so apparent. Remember, it's about the jobs, the outcomes and obstacles people wish to overcome using the technology. It's about the needs of the end-user. If bigger, better, faster and flashier isn't going to improve upon any of the three factors don't believe the hype. Build to what is needed. In the end,your time, money and resources can be saved to when you really do need the increased technological performance.

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