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  • Jim Richardson

The Danger of Not Forcing New Technology on Your Work Force

I’m about to give you a really long run on sentence that is a train of thought I had in the car: “I hear it all the time when IT leadership says we can’t secure our data or we can’t modernize our apps because that will cause a disruption to the users and they are used to the way they are doing things because they act like robots and they know with muscle memory what buttons they need to push and in what order to complete their jobs”. I have heard this too many times from companies who don’t have trust in the end user community to use technology, so the IT departments usually try to do everything *for* the end user, asking them to just follow procedures and not really consider what they are doing, why they are doing it, or what their part is in securing it.


Think about that last part for a second. How many times do YOU work with company data and you don’t even realize whether it’s confidential or not? How many times do you put that file on a USB stick or store it in Dropbox without thinking that your company would rather you not do that? What would happen if a news reporter read your Email? What was the last Email you forwarded to your personal address? My point is that if you don’t give your employees modern tools to use for their jobs, they will find other ways to do things and reduce your ability to secure your company applications and data.


It’s the Danger of Not Forcing New Technology On Your Work Force!


What we’re really trying to do is work with the IT departments of the world to be enablers of end users and providing service to their work force on behalf of the business to make each and every person productive and secure!




I’ve seen companies that had such old finance systems, they couldn’t upgrade from Office 2010 preventing a move to cloud and using the amazing security and protection tools in Microsoft 365 and Azure. Or, they had such old 32-bit apps running on their “corporate image” on Windows 7 that they couldn’t get rid of – so no Windows Autopilot with Microsoft Intune. Casinos and Hospitals still use Windows XP. Fast Food Drive-thru menu systems still use Windows NT kernel!!! So do ATMs, signage, other Internet of Things Things. I get it. It’s hard to upgrade when there’s a million of them out there. Even retail stores still have old Operating Systems, right Target corporation? But we HAVE TO CHANGE.


In my company we have 15 employees and the luxury of being able to make technology changes pretty much instantly. We moved helpdesk systems in 2 weeks time. We changed from Skype to Teams on a weekend (You DO know that Skype for Business is going away and moving to Teams, right?). We moved accounting programs in a week, and we switched to Dynamics for Sales/Marketing in just 3 weeks. Why was this easy for us? Because our employees are used to things changing!


The main reason we are successful is that we focus on continuous updating and education. Our employees know why they do what they do, they know the new features, and they think about how it impacts the business - the customer - and the security of our company. Continuous Updating is a big problem in companies that buy an application and over customize it - or maybe it's tied to some ancient hardware device – they are stuck with it. They build up so many processes and robotic procedures around the old applications that they feel it’s impossible to change or upgrade. Believe me, it will cost a whole lot more money and time/effort/pain to upgrade a system if you wait. I’ve seen customers who kept using an older accounting system and never upgraded it in over 10 years. Now, when some other business reason forced them to upgrade their Email system, they found that they could not because of the tight integration of the accounting system with old public folder technology and old exchange access protocols. So, now they have to upgrade the 10 year old accounting system first….and then upgrade the email system. So both things now will cause a HUGE disruption. Sorry for the rant.


Another big point to focus on with our ability to force new technology on our employees is that we focus on employee empowerment and self-service! Users have choices with the tools they use (Desktop, Online, Mobile), ability to collaborate and create Teams to work with one another, ability to bring whatever device they want to work, and the freedom to ask for help or support whenever they need it.


I have visited countless customers over the years where the guiding principle of the IT department is to not make any changes so the users don’t need to adapt. In most cases, the IT dept tries to make things so invisible to the end user, the user is told “Just do it this way” so the user never learns what they are doing, why they are doing it, what the impact is, and what to look for. They just act like robots pushing buttons in a certain order to make something move along a manual process. Do you remember when the big craze was to start enforcing complex passwords that had to change every 90 days (By the way, you don’t have to do this anymore – and if you don’t know why – call me)? I have met companies that don’t give the users their passwords and have the workstations automatically login for them; I have met companies who kept a master spreadsheet of all the user passwords; I have seen companies where they allow “password” as a password. Recently. It’s time to realize the era of the password is OVER! I will write more about password-less in my upcoming blog. Stop babying the end users!


It’s the Danger of Not Forcing New Technology On Your Work Force!


The big danger of to the approach named above is that end users just learn a “muscle memory” of a procedure without really thinking about what they are doing. And of course, then, you cannot change that or it throws them into a tizzy. Did you ever read the book about moving someone’s cheese? haha So, if you get the muscle *used* to change – it will adapt quite easily.


People can adapt. We need to trust people and teach them so they can be empowered. It’s a cloud world, and if we aren’t doing this, then they will go around us – it's called Shadow IT.

Let’s constantly talk to our end users and show them how to use the new features that come out monthly in the cloud. Let’s educate on security and why it’s important. How they can’t be lazy anymore.


So, the moral of the story is: Update your apps and continue to update them when new releases come out; Give your users modern tools and empower them with self-service; and continuously educate and advise (transform your helpdesk from reactive to proactive) them so they take full advantage of the features and security functions of the cloud.

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