It wasn’t that long ago when paper forms were all that businesses used for communication purposes. Some businesses still rely on many paper forms and extensive file rooms to get work done. Investing into technology has been initially expensive for many organizations, but there have been several benefits seen because of it. There have also been some unanticipated negative side effects which have occurred. Here are the pros and cons of technology in business to consider if you’re thinking about making a tech investment in the near future.
What Are the Pros of Technology in Business?
1. It increases the mobility of the business.
Thanks to technology, businesses can be extremely mobile today. Scanners let customers and businesses know where shipments are in real time. Mobile internet allows employees to work virtually anywhere. Mobile payment technologies allow small businesses to accept credit cards digitally without an investment into additional equipment.
2. There is an increased level of efficiency as well.
Imagine an international company having a meeting with its primary shareholders from 5 different countries just 20 years ago. A central location would need to be chosen. Those involved would need to travel to that location. The process could take weeks to complete. With meeting and video streaming technologies, travel is no longer required.
3. Communication is improved.
Technology allows people to speak with one another instantly, even if they are halfway around the world. Someone in Singapore can chat with someone in Seattle whenever it is convenient for them. Emails make it possible to send information instantly.
4. Collaboration opportunities are increased.
Technology also allows co-workers to work together on documents, forms, and tasks in a collaborative way without needing to create items in triplicate. Everyone can improve the same information simultaneously, which improves production and quality because there aren’t the same review delays as there are with manual forms and documents.
5. Including technology means hiring new specialists.
New technologies often require a business to hire new employees to manage that upgrade. If existing workers can be transitioned to the new tech, they may need to receive training and updates about the best practices to use it properly. All of this tends to add even more costs to the experience and it can slow down the implementation process.
What Are the Cons of Technology in Business?
1. There are always costs to pay.
Once you’ve invested into technology, you must keep making that investment. After all, a Tandy 386 isn’t going to perform at the same level as an HP Inspire. To keep moving at the speed of business, you must keep upgrading the tech you have to keep pace. It is impossible to invest in technology as a one-and-done process.
2. There can be lost productivity.
If a computer goes down and that’s where the work is stored, then you suddenly have an employee who is being paid to be non-productive. There is also a certain level of enhanced responsibility which comes with technology to manage personal time to make sure productivity is maximized. These are issues that can be outside of the control of the business.
3. Security concerns become enhanced.
It’s a lot easier to hack into proprietary information if a business is connected with modern technology than it is to grab some paper documents. Email systems may increase the speed of communication, but they also open up a network to viruses, Trojan horses, and other software or hardware concerns.
4. It can create an atmosphere of dependency.
Using technology can create employees who rely heavily on it to get their work done. One skill is upgraded for the employee, but it can come at the expense of other skills – like personal interactions. Sending an IM or an email to someone is very different than actually speaking to that person across a desk.
5. Teams can become individual islands.
Technology also tends to separate co-workers from one another because they can be so mobile. This can make each employee feel like they’ve got to take on more tasks because they are unsure if their other team members are getting their work done. It can create just as many communication barriers as it is able to take down.
6. It creates new temptations.
Technology creates a social access. This makes it tempting for workers to spend time on their favorite social games or reviewing Facebook updates instead of actually doing their work. It may reduce workplace conversations, but it can increase personal texts and emails.
The pros and cons of technology in business show that it is a process which must be carefully managed and budgeted for to be successful. If the negatives can be taken into account before the implementation process begins, the experience has a greater chance of success.