One of the great things about being an information professional is that you get to spend so much of your time thinking about and exploring the latest advances in electronic technology. Biometric security? Check. Voice recognition? Check. Mobile capture? Check.
The problem is that it can be so tempting to push the envelope that we can forget why we imposed the technology in the first place: to help people work better and work better together. Despite the fact that this post is appearing in a very content-oriented space, you may notice that this is a very process-oriented statement -- and this is appropriate because at the end of the day, you're only dealing with that content because you're trying to get something done.
Two recent experiences triggered this thought and serve as commonplace object lessons as to why process must rule even when technology drools.
I was on a long car ride when we drove out of a cell and my maps app wouldn’t load. After 10 minutes of cussing and complaining, my wife finally said, “why don’t you just open the map book?” Flip, flip, BINGO: here’s where we are, there’s where we’re going, and here’s how we’re going to get there.
My client needed to schedule a meeting with his team, but nothing happened when he opened his online shared calendar and asked the system to find a date and time that worked for everyone. Turns out that the server was down, and my client was lost until I suggested he use his telephone to call the participants and ask about their availability. BINGO: problem solved, and low-tech was the answer.
I tell you these stories to illustrate why we must guard against becoming overly fixated on gee-whiz technology. This in no way diminishes the importance of bettering the quality and management of our information, or installing and maintaining a modern infrastructure. But keeping it in mind can help us avoid our natural inclination to chase all that is on the leading-edge at the expense of the one thing we were hired to do: to do good work.