As a technology leader I face a lot of resistance from employers, partners and co-workers regarding the usage of new technology. I spent a great deal of time each day reading technical blogs and learning about new technologies. I test drive new tools and applications almost daily to see what is out there and the benefit they offer.
I am always very cautious about whether a new application, service or tool will actually add value to a company and its process. This are can really be a double edge sword. There is an amazing number of tools out their in this 2.0 age, this also means many of these tools could go away at any moment. You have to ask of a company:
- What is their business / revenue model?
- What is their support structure?
- What is their pricing model?
- How are other people using this tool?
- You have to ask a lot of questions about a service provider / vendor before just leaping in.
Then you have to start asking internal questions:
- Will this tool provide value?
- Is there an existing process that it can be integrated with, or will new process need to be developed.
- How will people receive this new tool? What are adoption patterns among internal clients?
There is a lot of information to evaluate before integrating third party services and tools into your company. The biggest thing I face at many organizations is just general fear. People are afraid of change and what they don't know. I constantly face people not understanding something because they have pre-conceived notions about what it is. To the non-techies who are in this position I encourage:
- Don't worry about what you don't know.
- Ask questions, don't worry about dumb questions.
- Don't always think your IT manager or the geeks in your companies are talking down to you.
- Maybe there is something about the tool or process you are unaware of that would make you more efficient.
- Maybe there is something about the application of the tool the technical manager introducing it doesn't understand.
- Don't get defensive about what you don't know and about change.
It is really hard for geeks to slow down our brains and explain tools to the average user. A common ground needs to be established through questions, discussion, education and process. This can't happen without dialogue from both sides.
This is a tough thing for both sides of the fence and I know some of us geeks can be less than friendly about explaining or pushing new technologies. But the place to start is with some dialogue and asking questions.