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Why Technology is Just a Tool: A Brief History

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Cindy Farmer

Like anything in life, humans invented tools to help us do more with less. In 231 A.D., the Chinese invented the wheel barrel to help transport larger and heavier goods. Gutenberg invented the Printing Press machine in 1439 so that more books could be printed, which immediately changed culture, science and the way we learned. In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb to help us see after dark and be more productive after sunset. The Wright Brothers helped invent the airplane in 1903 so we could travel to the other side of the globe, transcending the world economy.


In the 1950's, IBM invented the first business “computer” to help humans process large amounts of information. In the 1960’s, the computer helped land Man on the moon. In the 80’s, IBM and Apple introduced the “personal computers” that started the revolution of IT as we know it today. In the 90’s, advanced networking and the internet were introduced, transforming human life and the global economy.


In each of the examples above, humans created these tools to help make human life better and easier. Today, we can’t imagine life without electricity, light bulbs, cell phones, iPads or laptops. However, behind these great tools, there are countless hours of human engineering, planning and strategic thinking.


Like all the inventions above, technology is just the tool to help businesses do more. Beyond this great tool, if used for the greater good, technology can help a business do more with less. But, technology does not fix a business. Technology is best viewed as an advancement of a business.


However, behind every good tool is the human using it. Humans are the best “teacher” or “director” of artificial intelligence (AI). But they must understand the strategy behind the technology and have the proper training and understanding of the problem you are trying to resolve with the technology, or else the technology will be just an expensive metal box sitting on their desk.


Often, business owners or corporate decision makers forget that the process of designing, planning and training is what makes the tool work efficiently, before and after deployment.

When deploying new technology, there must be a strategy and an understanding of the problem you are trying to resolve; otherwise, you will never use the technology to its fullest extent.

In fact, you may just introduce another tool that could cause more problems than you bargained for. Worse yet, the new tool may halt growth or bring down your business.


Before you deploy your next technology system or try to make a technology decision, think about this: Do you have a strategy or plan in place for this tool to help you or is this tool going to make your life harder?


Success in any technology deployment is at the design and planning phase and not at the implementation phase.


If you're considering a technology purchase for your business, ProActive Information Management can help you make the right decisions for your business today and for the future. Give us a call today at 804-897-8347 or email us at for more information.

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