Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Benefits are in the behaviour not the software

For every problem you have there are probably at least three technology solutions out there that can help you. Though is a technology solution always the right answer? Sometimes, yes. However, the first step might be to check out what you're using.

For example, many people I come across at the moment are looking for ways to keep track of their relationships with their customers and clients. So they are tempted to buy in complex customer relationship management (CRM) software. These additonal programs mean they need to record their transactions with each customer. Yet what they may not realise is that for many of them, a solution may already exist that meets their modest needs. If they use Microsoft Outlook then already every email is tracked by contact (check the Activities tab under the contact name) and if you set up your Journal preferences you can do a heap more. If you have the business contact manager add in then this has an almost full relationaship system and it integrates with much of what you use at your desktop - and does so without you doing any additional tasks. Whatever you use, what I have worked out is that if you end up having to do extra tasks, then you are unlikely to use it. So get something that integrates and works in the background. Not may software programs have that sort of ego.

Other software that causing angst is where we want to collaborate. Some use Sharepoint, other Windows Office Live, others Google groups etc. I personally prefer Windows Office Live as it integrates well and is less clunky than other programs. I can save directly from my desktop - no additional steps and it also comes with Shareview where we can share screens, all very quickly if we are on a telephone call and want to share and talk about a document together.

All the software comes with bells and whistles but they are irrelevant if they are not used. Think about your washing machine. How many of the fancy programs do you really use? In our house it is just the two. A quick wash and a regular wash. Heaven knows what all the other options are for.

If we're needing others to adopt the use of some technology as part of our better practice implementation then a good idea is to find ways to integrate it as much as possible into existing systems and to minimise the bells and whistles.

Creative Commons 2008 Sarah Fraser Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derviative

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