Technology with Integrity
By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc.
Businesses recognize the value of a mission statement. It guides them in decision making, by making clear the values by which decisions are made. The same principle can be applied to making choices about technology. By crafting a technology policy, even if it is very simple, you can clarify what you base your decisions on when it comes to computers and all that goes with them.
A business that values being on the leading edge will make very different choices than a business that values minimizing costs. By thinking through what you value, and putting your values in priority order, you can have a consistent policy for technology decision making. Even a very small company can benefit from thoughtful decisions, rather than an impulse buy while out shopping.
Here are some options to help stimulate your thinking:
Does your market require you to embrace or avoid particular technologies?
Some businesses are unable to compete without a sophisticated information management system. What level of automation does your industry require? Does your company depend on a particular vertical market software package? If so, what constraints does that put on your technology decision making?
What impact does your technology or lack of it have on how the company is perceived?
Most people expect companies to have a web site and email address. To what extent do you need to be on the leading edge in the eyes of your customers? Do you need to exchange files in the latest version of your applications? For example, a printing company might value staying up with the latest graphics software so they could read their client’s files.
How important is security?
Do you keep financially valuable information in your files, such as credit card numbers? Do you keep information that is protected by law, such as medical records?
How important is reliability?
Can you afford to not use your computers for a day? An hour? How valuable is the data you store? What does it cost you to deal with problems?
How important is speed?
Will spending an extra $500 to save 20 minutes a day pay off? Are there particular functions or jobs where speed is important?
Here is an example of a simple but effective technology policy: