In our “Before Technology” series of blog posts,we have seen that buying technology before a process is defined or an organization is ready, is not only counterproductive, but also costly. So when is the right time?
Technology is always best when viewed as an advancement or improvement of a business, as opposed to the centerpiece of the business. Take the famed Toyota Production Model (TPM). The root of the model is process control and stabilization; then, and only then improving the process.
The TPM model revolves around manually documenting and working a process until it is second nature to the business. Companies spend years refining the process (also the basis of Six Sigma, repeatability) and teaching their employees. Once the business process is defined and the organization is ready, they then spend more time making the process better through technology.
Why do this? Your organization needs to be able to use the tools you provide them. They also need to understand what they are doing and why. “Garbage in, garbage out” is the all too familiar concept of technology. You want to avoid this at all costs. There is nothing worse than running a report for months, to find that the data is wrong. Why? How? Who did it? Are all common questions, but the answer is no one knew the process or the inputs required to get the right output.
In the end, technology is always best used to advance and improve established processes and trained people. This is when you can truly say “Technology is going to make your job easier,” and it can be proven.