Monday, September 12, 2011

Paralyzed by Technology??

The amount of technology-driven tools and devices available to businesses today is truly staggering.  For managers, this info-overload can be especially stressful as you try to balance current and future technology needs with cost constraints and, frankly, often limited knowledge about today's techno-speak and options.  At HARDI we've been testing various tablets, laptops, netbooks, smartphones, servers, and other devices.  Some need to be optimized for our road warriors, while others need to be high-powered for new data and multi-media development needs.

Here are a few brief observations of our experiences thus far:
  • Tablets are great for several things, but aren't ready to replace laptops
  • Netbooks are great for several more things, but aren't ready to replace laptops
  • Tablet-PC's are awesome, but extremely far and few between and potentially expensive
  • Apple/Android phones can do 1000x more than Blackberries, but BB's are still great for Exchange server access and ultra-speedy typing (with real buttons!)
  • Mobile devices that say they're VPN-capable need to prove it because we can't get them to work
  • Android's Office-ready design is great, but you still have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to use/find things on the device
  • None of the travel-optimized or mobile devices are 100% web capable meaning websites are either developing faster than the operating systems, or the operating systems are evolving faster than most websites- either way on any device you're going to find web functionality that won't completely work at some point in time
  • Even the best tech support can't be expected to keep up with all of this so be prepared for any technology device decision to come with some potentially extensive tech-support time
Research and research some more, and do so with the help and close involvement with your tech support.  If they're not on board with your decision, you're in for a long implementation ride.

Unlike most other decisions, your gut probably isn't be best judge for technology decisions.  Your gut is too likely influenced by biases unrelated to the actually business decision i.e. slick marketing, recommendations from others who have different technology needs and uses, subjective rather than objective research.  All these tools are great and just about everything is great at something, but it's also likely to have some significant weaknesses.  Your focus needs to be understanding what you most need and what you can most do without and let that guide your decision.

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