Monday, March 17, 2008

The ART of Technology
By John Merritt

In every successful recipe there are key ingredients. Too much of one ingredient or too little of another can have very interesting effects on the outcome of the dish. It’s no different when it comes to technology. In today’s world, business is driven by technology; the days of seeing technology merely as a necessary evil have long passed. Networking technologies are used to quickly move and access information, we analyze our stored data to make sound decisions, websites & eCommerce focus on bringing convenience to our customers, email systems allow us to communicate around the world in the blink of an eye, we track vehicles via satellite, cell phones keep us in touch - the list goes on and on. Take a moment to think of what it would be like to do your job in today’s world without technology – how efficient would you be?

The recipe for technology contains 3 key ingredients: Alignment, Relationship and Transparency. Each of these, in balance, can assist in making technology a useful, functional and invisible tool within our organizations. The ART of technology is not about the PC on your desk or the server in the backroom. The ART of technology is about our interaction with systems, process and one another as we work toward efficient business operations and fully meeting the mission. Undoubtedly, the cycles of budgeting, planning, purchasing, implementing and maintaining technology is very important too, but for now, let’s focus on the ART of technology.

Alignment: Ensuring the technology decisions we make are focused on the business and mission. Don’t do technology just for the sake of technology, measure technology against the mission to ensure fiscal responsibility and business focused solutions. Alignment also works toward strategic planning and the use of technology to support current and future initiatives.

Relationship: The relationship is everything. Technology staff should constantly think “partnership” and ask “how can I work with my team to ensure technology supports the vision?” It’s the synergy of people and technology that creates solutions. Seek out partnerships with staff; get to know their frustrations, needs & challenges. Listen first, then work together towards solutions and improved business processes.

Transparency: It’s not about technology; it’s about the business and the mission. Technology should work like a light switch; with little or no thought. It’s about working smarter not harder. Poor business processes can often highlight nontransparent technologies; map your business processes and find ways to leverage the efficiency of technology by making the technology disappear. After all, technology doesn’t matter – solutions and good business process are what get the CEO’s attention.

It’s no coincidence the ART of Technology is built on three key ingredients. Like a triangle, the ART of Technology is about balance. Build your strategic technology goals to align with the business and mission of your organization; focus on the ART of Technology. Achieving this balance is a journey and there will always be much to accomplish. It’s not about the priorities of the technologist; it’s about the priorities of the organization. If you want to make technology part of your organizations priority list – use the ART of Technology.

(Much) More to come.



Technology is 80% people and 20% geekery

Slowest blogger - ever

I started this blog about a year ago, this is the 2nd post - set me up for the slow blogging award (or longest time between posts) - will soon post my (skeletal) article on my basic technology philosophy - the A.R.T. of Technology -