At home or in our businesses, we all are pushing to become more efficient with our work, our time and our resources. Technology has become an amazing catalyst for this effort – and I’m not just saying that because my business is all about creating these types of solutions.
But as much as you hear about the benefits of technology – that old saying about “too much of a good thing” may be applied here too. It’s not that technology hasn’t propelled us forward, but there seems to be a growing dependency and trust on its availability – and a blind trust in the information that it provides.
I see this dependency and trust more and more in my daughter.
My wife was taking her back to college on Monday in the balmy zero degree weather, dealing with snow flurries and morning drivers. Not long after leaving, she tried to use the windshield washers and found one of them wasn’t dispensing fluid (the driver’s side naturally – it was a Monday).
She pulled over and went to the glove compartment to get the manual to find where the hood safety release was to start troubleshooting the problem. Before the glove compartment was closed, my daughter had used Siri and found a YouTube video from an Acura dealership for the information.
To be honest, I’m not sure my daughter actually knows what a “user manual” is. But I don’t think it would even occur to her to go anywhere other than her phone for the information.
Her generation seems to have a trust that they can get instructions, directions, contacts, etc. whenever they need it – wherever they need it. That expectation – and the acceptance that whatever information is delivered is always true and accurate – is sometimes mind boggling to me.
Her dependence on that tool was showcased nicely at the end of the Fall semester. Her iPhone had some issues and she was without its use for THREE WHOLE DAYS. You really didn’t want to be in our house that week.
Not to say that I don’t take advantage of electronic searches. I just have a little different approach. Rather than asking Siri for her top few thoughts on what was going on with my water heater when it broke recently, I did a little homework first.
I found the manufacturer and model by heading down to the basement floor with a flashlight and read the actual unit (not a picture online) to narrow my research. My thought was that if I did a little footwork ahead of time, then I’d have a more solid understanding of who to call and what to expect (effort, cost etc.) when I started planning repairs. I wanted to feel comfortable with the data I received so I could make decisions.
The balance that both my daughter and I were trying to strike is similar to our automation benefits that we try to provide to our clients: improve the work performance of their teams (make sure it’s available and it’s easy) AND provide timely, trustworthy data for better decisions (make sure it’s accurate).
It’s with those challenges in mind (availability, easy and accuracy) that we design our solutions. Knowing that coverage isn’t always a given, environments aren’t always easy to navigate and data stored in systems isn’t always accurate – we are continually working to mitigate those issues. The result is that our tools will be available regardless of where your team is working, that they are easy to use and that the data they capture can be trusted.
We’re all beneficiaries of today’s technology and it’s amazing how it continues to change our lives. But, as anyone who has been directed by a GPS app to turn right into the middle of a field, you can also see the benefit in not blindly following the feedback provided – but factoring it into human-based decisions. Just because Siri says that your hotel is in that field doesn’t make it so.
Solid technology solutions – that complement your processes and goals and build your trust in their output – are out there. And if you’re looking for one for tracking your assets, we should talk.
I’ll leave you with a cute story regarding the loss of our hot water heater that Saturday night. As usual we had just finished an excellent meal that includes the normal amount of dishes, pots, pans, etc. When my daughter came downstairs the next morning she asked my wife what happened to the dishes. My wife told her that they had been washed and put away.
My daughter asked in amazement as to how that was possible without hot water. My wife said it wasn’t any different than camping where you heat water under a fire, wash and dry, repeating the process until you’re done.
My daughter learned that the loss of something, like hot water, is not an issue if you know of a contingency plan. And her Mom didn’t even have to ask Siri.