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Use Technology to Change Behavior

Technology promises great potential to create leverage in our business. Leverage isn’t created in the purchase of technology; real leverage comes from how the use of the technology changes the behavior of the people who use it.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: December 3, 2013


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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.



By James Daly on Dec 03, 2013

Jennifer, your piece is spot on, including the Buckminster Fuller quote. What's missing from that quote however, is that there are those that benefit from the new knowledge and technique offered by the tool and then there are those that can't let go of current thinking and use that new screwdriver as a hammer.


By Gina Testa on Dec 04, 2013

Technology and tools are changing the way companies do business. They have the potential to increase productivity and help employees increase customer satisfaction and develop long-term, successful relationships with their clients. I agree with the points that Jennifer made and I wanted to weigh in with another. To make these investments work best, it is important that the company has full buy-in at all levels. Upper management should listen to employees and use their input to find technology that will help them become more productive. Employees should have the right attitude towards technology to make it a beneficial investment. Companies that are establishing a culture where technology is central to success are the ones embracing and benefitting from it. Technology helps businesses be more productive, and can ultimately maximize profit and propel business ROI.


By Jennifer Matt on Dec 05, 2013

James -
Thanks for the comment. I agree, even if you choose the right tool, implement it properly, there will always be some people who continue to resist the change. I think this is due to lack of context. Often I get asked (as an outsider) this very revealing question, "why did we buy this stupid thing anyway?" This is after a company has spent lots of time and money on a new system. Context is so important. People need to understand the "WHY" or they make up their own idea of why which is usually something like, "management doesn't have a clue."

The "why" is so important because it helps individuals understand the bigger picture and how their efforts impact that big picture.



By Jennifer Matt on Dec 05, 2013


Thanks for your comment. You comment extends the conversation that was started by James above. Buy-in / context / understanding why is often skipped. So many technology purchases are done by upper management in isolation and then handed off to busy production people to implement without context or the feeling of being involved in the decision.

The pendulum swings both ways - the other extreme is a crazy decision by committee that takes way too long and sucks up vital resources. There is a happy medium - get buy-in, give people the chance to express their opinions, get people involved early and prevent their resistance later.



By Erik Nikkanen on Dec 05, 2013

Hi Jen, sorry but I am not able to read your article but I have a comment that might be relevant.

Many years ago, I worked for a company that was very successful. They put in a lot of effort and resources to internally develop processes and products for food packaging.

Their track record of success with these efforts might look quite bad. Maybe they were successful with 1 in 5 or even 1 in 10 projects. But when they did succeed, the benefits were great and lasted a long time.

All these efforts were strategic and were well thought out but as always, doing new things is risky. Companies with the culture and resources to take risks can benefit greatly over their competition.

Also in a company culture, where dealing with risk is common, it is quite easy to get people to buy into the risky efforts. They can see what the potential benefits are and are willing to go through the difficult process together to try to obtain those benefits.


By Jennifer Matt on Dec 05, 2013

Erik - Great comment (even if you didn't get to read the article). We have so little tolerance for failure in business and then when we do fail we don't do an open and honest post-mortem to actually get the benefit of our failure. This is where I think we can learn from the technology start-up community - they actually use the term: fail fast.

Every company has failed at a technology projects but most often the only outcome is to blame the vendor, they they buy again, fail again and don't see what the common denominator is (them!)



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