While the role of technology in organizations can never be underestimated, yet it can never replace the time-tested values and vision an organization stands for. Organizations should harness technology without ignoring their foundations.
In recent times, technology has played a stellar role in the way we function at the workplace. By the end of 2010, organizations found the best use of social networking. Apart from this, video conferencing continues to be a key tool of communication within an organization, while technological trends include the use of tools like Apple’s iPad help us organize our date faster and better. As consumers make inroads using the best of technology that helps them integrate better with organization behavior, the government is forced to let down its information barriers.
Management guru Peter Drucker was a keen observer of these technological trends since he coached executives and the teams they managed. He was often asked by his mentees how technological changes would impact their organizations now and in the future. To all of them, Drucker’s explanation of the fundamentals on resources was the same and is still applicable today:
According to him, a resource that does not cause an organization or an individual to grow and show result isn’t a genuine resource. In the 1940s, people asked him what possible impact the computer could have on society, business and management. Before computers came into use as they are today, organizations used to maintain their accounts and ledgers by writing the necessary information in them with pen and paper.
Data-centric organizations used archived books for their day-to-day functions. Later, typewriters were used and after World War II when computers came into use, the power of data processing and storage capability of computers leapfrogged. While the effect of computers changed societies, businesses and the government watched eagle-eyed for newer technological trends.
When computers were discovered, everyone wanted to know what function it would serve and what present-day service it would replace. Perhaps, they took the place of human mathematicians, or we no longer needed to store information in certain physical areas, or human tasks were now done more efficiently and reliably by a machine.
In hindsight, however, the computer has far exceeded these basic tasks and done much more in communications, data and information storage and processing. However, it severely lacks in knowledge. In this connection, Drucker’s statement that “the computer is a moron” is true because he believed that knowledge alone that makes organizational management successful. He, however, did believe that computers had a bright future, but only as a part of a knowledge society where people obtained knowledge, developed and executed it.
When people do not use information constructively, it becomes useless. If we lose focus by stressing on what a computer gives our rather than applying it well, we relegate the position of a computer in an organization to a useless time and resource-wasting machine. A company would then see a computer as a “cost center” that uses organizational inputs but does not generate any substantial output. Instead, we should focus our attentions on how computers can be used to harness the best results of a company for today and the future. One must also understand the output of a technological tool depends on its user and the variables he uses. The execution of the device and its data rely on the user’s knowledge and how it is used rather than why it is used.
Therefore, technology can be used by organizations to have a multiplier effect as long as it is used well and its users understand that its applied knowledge and specific behaviors alone spell organizational success, rather than what kind of modern-day technology we have or what may be used in future. Despite the role of computers in organizations and the latest technological trends, people must not lose sight of its goals, values and vision which demand perfect execution—something beyond the scope of technology.