A toy for every ill
No one can accuse the IT industry of under-selling itself. Users are frequently assailed with far-fetched claims for the wonders of technology X or product Y that is destined to revolutionise their business. But while vendors and their partners may be enthusiastic proponents of the features of a particular piece of tech, it can often appear as if they have spent less time focusing on the merits of what it can actually deliver to a business.
This has given rise to a‘gap’ between what technology can do and what the people using it are able to do with it. In other words: the divide between what’s available in the workplace and employees’ ability to effectively use it.
Technology is a tool or an enabler to help employees do their job. It should not be a barrier to how they do their job, nor should it be something that affects the way they do their job. Technology should expand the possibilities of how people work but it shouldn’t require them to invest significant time and effort learning how to make it work for them.
IT is capable of many things but a lot of those things might be completely irrelevant to what it needs to be used for in a particular environment. Instead of focusing on what IT needs to do, there’s a danger people get distracted by the possibilities of what it could do.
Out of focus
Michael Conway, director at Renaissance, points to the “great technologies and wonderful things out there, but it never ceases to amaze me that so many have no business benefit or focus on what they do”. No surprises, then, that he can report that “I go to Infosec every year and a very significant proportion of companies I see are not there the following year”.
He gives the example of a show where he stood beside a stand, stopped and looked at it, moved around the corner and looked again, went to the other corner and looked again before coming back to say to the person at the stand: “This is fascinating, but for the life of me, I can’t work out what you do.” If a company can’t give a clear message about what its technology does, how can it hope to convince customers it has something they need?
Conway argues that in a number of cases IT companies are touting technology but “they’re not supporting a business need or providing a solution to a business need”.