Help! I Need to Upgrade My Technology

Holly J. Culhane SPHR
November 2, 2007 — 1,682 views  
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Doesn’t it seem like everything is high-tech these days? Not only can we not understand our children, the latest music, or some of the television shows – now even the commercials are in code! I find it so frustrating to be watching a program that is interrupted by an advertisement and the people on the screen are speaking in letter-groupings instead of actual words! For example: “NBD. IDK – my BFF Jill. RME.” (Translation: “No big deal. I don’t know – my best friend forever, Jill. Rolling my eyes.”) Of course, the good thing is with TiVO (more letter-grouping code), I don’t have to worry about it all of the time! Okay – so, I admit it. Maybe I am somewhat technologically challenged and freely acknowledge that when reading I prefer to have a book (or some other kind of hard copy in my hands) instead of simply scrolling down text while staring at a computer screen. My e-mails, memorandums, and even text messages are in standard English – usually complete with correct spelling, punctuation, and other acceptable writing conventions. I may not be “hip” but at least anyone – and everyone – should be able to comprehend my correspondence. So, is that important? Well, it is to me! So, in the office – just where do you draw the line? Obviously you have to keep up with technology in order to remain competitive. Your hardware and software need to be updated regularly and employees must be trained frequently to ensure their competence on same. Even I attest to this, and can proficiently use any number of software applications and navigate the web super-highway and admittedly conduct a wide amount of research on the Internet. However, I recognize that there are limits to things on which I wish to remain current. If you own a business, work in a business, or simply have a telephone and/or mailing address you’re keenly aware that technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace. It is absolutely impossible to stay “cutting edge” in everything because as soon as you purchase new equipment or software, it’s obsolete before it can be installed. And . . . we’re all being constantly inundated by new promotions, “advanced” products, “innovative” systems, etc. Constantly, we must sift through all the hype and evaluate the necessary changes, calculate the costs, and finally, assess the plethora of vendors clamoring for our business. Just how does one cope with all of this information? First, take a deep breath. Then logically and systematically look at all of your options and determine what is best for your organization. What changes can enhance your product line(s)? What works best for your employees? How about your customers? How much can you afford? How much time is involved and how disruptive will it be for your company? How quickly can employees be trained on the new equipment and/or software? Who will do the training? What checks will you use to ensure that your vendor and his/her products are reliable? How stable is the market you’re in at the moment and how will fluctuations affect your particular industry? Many questions with sometimes difficult answers; however, they must be addressed if your company is to remain viable in an ever-changing business climate. Rick Kreiser, president of Carney’s Business Technology Center, offers a great option in this fast-paced world. Kreiser advises, “Increasingly, small businesses are using leasing to make investing in new technology a much easier decision – at least from a cash flow perspective. It’s something larger enterprises have practiced for decades for sound financial reasons. A properly structured lease allows for programmed equipment replacement, so keeping hardware and software up to date becomes a predictable budget item and can include maintenance and support for the entire term. Now it’s possible to acquire the technology solution you need rather than the one for which you must write a check.” Remember, new isn’t necessarily better. Additionally, even if it is better it may not be advantageous for your particular use. You’re busy running your company and probably don’t always have the time to research all the possibilities in depth. While it’s important to be actively involved, consider calling in the experts when considering changes to the company. Your human resource professional is always a great place to start as they can assist with research, evaluations, background checks, etc. Then, when decisions have been made after careful consideration of all the options, they can also assist in the training stage by either recommending the proper procedures with qualified firms, or possibly even providing training directly. IMHO (translation: in my humble opinion), soliciting expert help before embarking on major changes is a BFO (translation: blinding flash of the obvious). IRL (translation: in real life), we all know that our time is limited and it’s impossible to successfully navigate the business world alone. Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on WYSIWYG (translation: what you see is what you get) because there are often hidden costs and unseen problems lurking.

Holly J. Culhane SPHR

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Identified the need for human resource and organizational assistance for small- and medium-sized business­es and formed Profes­sional Administra­tive Systems in 1987. Now known as P A S Associates, this firm combines specialists in the fields of human resources, labor and employment law, affirma­tive action, and substance abuse policies and education, providing an unsurpassed Human Resource Center.