The evolution of software is incredible. For example, we can now shoot and edit high quality videos from a mobile device. Entire films have been produced using the same method. Something that used to require teams of people can now be done by a single person. Now, to be realistic, my 65-year old mother would probably need a couple weeks of training and practice to figure out what today’s 15-year olds can do with that type of technology, but the point remains: Efficiency is at our fingertips.
That efficiency has naturally led to making extremely powerful software less expensive. We see it all around us. Cloud storage is being handed out for free, powerful office-based applications are now web-based and accessible from everywhere. The agenda on web-based productivity is being pushed because it makes software much easier to maintain and improve upon. When it’s convenient to get software into the hands of end-users, the software inherently becomes much less expensive to develop. It creates a model where customers are not paying for product overhead, such as marketing and distribution. Even more so, they aren’t paying for the hardware and infrastructure to run powerful software, because so much of it is web-based. When all that overhead becomes centralized, it not only decreases operating costs, but it allows the customer to simply use the software for what it is and leave the maintenance and improvement up to people who specialize in that area.
I have worked for the government over the past several years. Under such a large organizational umbrella, change does not come easy or quickly. Here is this huge organization of employees who use advanced technology in their everyday lives outside of work, but within the walls of their organization,, its still paper, fax machines, and, at best, computer databases based on 20-year old technology. Only in the last 3-5 years has a shift begun in that arena. What’s most unfortunate is the extreme delay the government organization as a whole has had in taking advantage of widely available technology. This has cost taxpayers a staggering amount. Sure, there are probably some seemingly logical excuses for why adaptation to technology occurs so slowly and is always two steps behind, but those excuses don’t change the bottom line. That is, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, quite to the contrary, if change and adaptation is not a constant within an organization, losses will occur.
To be fair, the government is an industry in itself and is set apart from the consumer-based industries of the world. So what other industries have been slow to adapt? What other organizations are spending millions more than they need to, simply because they have become comfortable where they are and cannot see the not-so-distant future. To see the vast difference between the technology of your industry and that used in separate but more advanced industries is a perspective worth having. Time will tell us who stood immovable based merely on the comfort of familiarity. Those who don’t adapt early on will fall behind their competition. To become and stay successful is to be two steps ahead at all times.
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