The Simple Machine of Technology

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    In exploring the simple machine of technology, I look back to when my parents owned a restaurant. Naturally, my first job was doing data entry for my Dad. He had written the computer programs to process and analyze the sales and labor data for his restaurant. But in order for those to work, the numbers from the miles and miles of daily report receipts (yes, really; all the sales for the day were spit out on one looooong receipt, like the ones you get at CVS, but narrower, longer, and the ink was purple) had to be input into the computer. 

    To be clear, this was a computer in the mid ‘80s. It had a green screen and two floppy drives: one that ran the program and the other one to store data. That alone was a miracle and a menace simultaneously. I can’t count the number of times the computer failed to write to the data storage and all the work I had just done had to be entered again. This is clearly why, to this day, I HATE to have to re-do anything.

    Despite requiring manual data entry, having these programs gave my parents a huge advantage. Payroll could be run at the stroke of a button (there wasn’t a mouse back then). Sales and labor data could be combined with food costs to see the most profitable hours and if scheduling changes were needed.

    Listen to Season 1: Episode 4

    Simple Machine of Technology: Leveling the Field

    I believe technology is the great equalizer for businesses. When properly employed, the simple machine of technology can give three-person companies the capabilities of 50,000-person companies.

    The issue is that businesses either avoid using technology or they’re misusing it.

    Many times, the avoidance is due to fear. Fear of complicated systems, not knowing where to start, being overwhelmed by too many options, or simply being unaware that there’s another way to do it.

    Misuse of technology is fueled by not paying attention to what really works for our business, lots of “should-ing” on ourselves, or using the tools other people have told us worked for them. Sometimes it’s simply the issue of having the right tool but not using it in the right way.

    The simple machine of technology is in a constant state of change and that can be difficult for humans to embrace. No system will last forever. And really, it shouldn’t.

    How to Integrate Technology

    The true goal of the simple machine of technology is to aid humans, not replace them. It should enable people to spend their time and energy in the places it matters: interacting with other humans, dreaming up big ideas, and solving problems.

    To truly leverage technology, you need to:

    1. Evaluate what takes the most time and energy in the business.
    2. Scrutinize the current technology systems and processes being used for them.
    3. Consider alternate ways of accomplishing this.
    4. Create a prioritized list of must-haves for the tools.
    5. Research possible solutions.

    When you integrate the simple machine of technology, the payoff is huge!

    First, you and your team get to enjoy doing the things where you add the most value. Robots, AI, and other technologies pick up the slack, doing what your people aren’t so great at and/or where their time spent offers the least value.

    By leveraging your resources in this way, you are able to access accurate information when and where you need it. More importantly, though, you will deliver an amazing client experience. And when everything is running on all cylinders, you gain the time and space to consider all the big ideas you have and do other things with your time and energy besides work.

    I’d call that a win-win.

    How Will Technology Help You Win?

    I know that not everyone loves technology the way I do. But fertheluvofgawd don’t avoid it to the detriment of your business and potential ability to change the world. Considering your relationship with the simple machine of technology may help you see more clearly the opportunities to harness its power.

    I’d love to hear how you are using—or will plan to use—technology in your business. Join me at the next tech roundtable (register below) and let me know!

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