By Nathan Beavers
Technology has now become possibly the single most important element of doing business. Those who can’t use the technology available to them or simply won’t use it, suffer a distinct disadvantage compared to those companies that do use the technology they have. Not only can technology help a company become more streamlined in their operating process, but it can also help the company communicate more effectively and efficiently.
In high school, I worked over the summers for my uncle’s small office. I was hired as an office assistant, essentially it was a minimum wage “do whatever no one else wants to do,” job. He had over a dozen employees who worked for him. He made money, but would not spend it on anything “big” for his office. This included copiers, computers, and anything else that a normal modern-day office would have. There was a skeleton system of computers that would handle records for purchases, shipping and everything else, but personal computers for each employee were out of the question. “This is how your grandfather ran this business, and this is how I’m going to run it,” he would often tell me when I complained about doing something that could easily be automated with a computer. One such memorable instance was he had me write a memo to give everyone in the office. The memo was a summary of the major changes to the health care they provided. I had to type the same memo around fifteen times. Then, if any employee had any questions they would take time out of their workday to come see about something the memo didn’t cover. I could not stop thinking about how much time was wasted by myself, for typing the same memo over a dozen times, and others, for taking time to find someone to explain to them what the memo meant. This all could have been handled much more easily with a simple word processing program and email system.
Not surprisingly, my uncle changed his ways a few years after. He now has all the common pieces of equipment you would normally find in an office: computers for each employee and a surprisingly nice copier and a decent network throughout the office. He learned the hard way; technology needs to be embraced. It is not something that is going away any time soon. The best bet should be to be ahead of the curve, rather than behind it.