Sin: something you really must avoid because there are consequences – and not the good kind. There are Godly sins, and there are technology sins, and these are what I want to write about today. I have done a large number of technology assessments on various clients over the summer and want to pass on some observations of the “character” flaws that hurt organizations abilities to really prosper with tech…
Wrath: Nothing pisses people off more than technology they do not understand – especially when their kids and grandkids seem to have no problems with it. This gets amplified when you’re a business leader and technology people show up at a meeting and seem to speak a new language that makes no sense to you. There are now two choices, the first is to get up to speed and learn. The second is to rage against the technology itself and the people that know how to use it. This is actually humorous to witness at times, right up until it results in companies going out of business. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their job (Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders Books, etc.) Hating technology because it makes you have to think in new ways will get you nowhere.
Greed: Being greedy today will cost you dearly tomorrow. Technology is an investment – in many cases, it is the underlying infrastructure you will build on for the coming decades. Wait too long to make the right investments, or be miserly with letting go of some capital now, and you may find you lose a huge amount of profits in the future. You cannot save your way to prosperity, you must invest wisely, and today that means in technology. Greedy leaders who just want to maximize short term profits are often choking later when they have the choice of either shutting down when they lose huge market share, or are forced to make huge investments to catch up with competitors.
Sloth: Lazy people hate to invest time learning because it is just too darn much work. They assume they know enough already and would rather find more fun things to do, or simply do nothing, rather than make the investment in learning about new technologies and methods. Lazy people think they have tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year, or the next decade, before they have to do the work to clean their data, implement that new CRM system, or shift over to the cloud. For the sloth, there is always tomorrow – right up until the business shuts down, or they lose their job.
Pride: Thinking you have the ultimate technology strategy in place, or that your digital plumbing is perfect, is a dangerous perspective. This kind of viewpoint stops you from being open to learning about the improvements you could be making. You must wake up paranoid every day that your competitors are building something better than you. In a world where we are just waking up to the fact that we have very little ability to really manage large amounts of data and consequently are not very good at creating useful analytics, we have lots of leaders who think they see it all. In truth their pride tells them they can run the business with their instincts. In truth their pride is blinding them to the awesome power of Big Data and business intelligence. And by the way, just because you are making money today does not mean you will be making it in a few years. Today’s success is no indicator of tomorrow’s prosperity.
Lust: There are many options when it comes to software and hardware and some people lust after the expensive options, or the shiny new object on the market. They see this as the magic dust that will make everything in their lives (and with their companies) better. They lust for what the competition has. They want what companies larger than them have. They survey the market and then lust for the tools that others covet. Instead of carefully architecting their own unique digital plumbing that is the right fit, they try to model themselves after someone else and suffer with ill-fitting technology.
Envy: Just because you have the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 is announced, you do not need to have it. You only need what you need in order to be productive and prosper. Buying technology just to look good is for suckers. Be that a new tablet, or installing an SAP system because you believe that only large companies have that badge of honor. By the way, implementing an ERP system is more like hitting yourself with a hammer because it feels so good when it stops…
Gluttony: I have seen people and organizations gorge themselves on technology in an attempt to look cool, or because of a strange tech addiction that seems to drive them to blow money for the latest tool. If more than two articles come out with the latest buzzword or product, they are whipping out the credit card to add it to the collection. Open up their closet and a pile of unused silicon rubble pours out. Look at their servers and you find software applications that lie untouched by all but a few souls. Technology is complicated and the more you have, the more it sucks up resources so running lean, and efficient is the goal.
There you go, in one list, I have covered just about everything I see that needs to be eradicated…