Perhaps the greatest challenge in today’s business world is remaining current on technology. As businesses undertake new activities, they usually implement timely systems and processes. But many of them don’t follow as their field advances, and that comes to their detriment. We’ve all seen companies who quickly set up flashy web sites, only to fail to update their content or framework. You’re usually better off with no web site than an outdated one.
Why Companies Fall Behind on Technology
There are many reasons why these companies let themselves fall behind. One of the most common to be found in older businesses is the perception that they will undermine their reputation. They want to maintain the image that their customers old, of a skilled craftsman laboring meticulously over the product. They prefer not to think of automation or any form of unnatural work being done, so they shun many forms of technology.
So what’s the way around this? It’s a mental block. Some of the quaintest businesses in the world operate high-end technology behind the scenes. It’s the only way to sustain themselves with the more expensive production methods. You can continue to do hand-made, naturally harvested, or small-batch brewed as long as you save some money by doing electronic payroll, online marketing, and so forth. And bear in mind that the low-tech methods you perpetuate were once considered high-tech. You may be doing it the way your grandfather did it, but he probably wasn’t duplicating what his own grandfather did.
The second reason is the simple cost. They understand that the high wages paid to IT personnel in particular can be a major barricade to implementing new techniques. If they utilize automated records, production, marketing, or other techniques, they need personnel to maintain and operate them, and narrow profit margins won’t support that type of work force upgrade.
This is a legitimate problem, and was more so in the earlier years of widespread computerization. Fortunately, companies no longer have to keep these skilled personnel on staff full-time. Some are utilizing part-time workers from nearby colleges. Kelly Services staffing can provide a more reliable flow of qualified staff. Still others share with corporate partners. Whatever path they choose, they’re getting the skilled people into the organization and keeping pace with technology.
But perhaps the most persistent and problematic roadblock to implementing new technology is fear. Again, this is a bigger issue in older companies that had a high comfort level and a familiar routine when things were done with lower levels of technology. And it is a quantum leap to trust the Cloud with critical data, or to be confident that customers’ personal information will be secure without being physically locked up.
The good news is that these late arrivals probably are better off than the early adopters. That’s because the vulnerabilities of these systems shine throughout quickly, and those who come to the party a few years later will find most security holes have already been patched. So they can take a lot of comfort in knowing that the kinks have been worked out.
Ultimately, though, it’s a dollars and cents move. You can rest assured that if your firm is not pushing the envelope on technology, your competitors are. If you don’t get on board, you won’t have to be convinced to upgrade. The market will weed you out.
There’s no reason to let the advance of technology be the reason you fail. Make it an integral part of your business model and do everything you can to make you succeed instead.