Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Inefficient Technology and its Impacts

One of the things that annoys me more than anything is inefficiency. Both human and mechanical, inefficiencies at any stage along a process can prove devasting, restricting the ability of others to successfully complete their own tasks either partially or entirely. As competition for business becomes increasingly demanding, minor inefficiencies can represent the difference between success and failure; hardly encouraging given the current state of the economy. Admittedly, both human and mechanical inefficiencies will on occasions present themselves along the production line. This is undeniable. The issue becomes more problematic though when our dependency upon technologies increases; and let's face it, increase our dependency we have.

A Fatal Error has Occurred...
As society becomes increasingly interconnected, our reliance upon technology increases disproportionately. With every passing day, more and more of us come to depend upon these technologies; both socially and as tools of our trade. As such, the potential impact of technology induced downtime becomes a terrifying prospect. Efficiency quickly becomes a corollary of whether or not these tools decide to behave. Unfortunately, many of us are only too aware of the frequent limitations imposed by technologies in the workplace. 'Unexpected' and even 'Fatal' errors are becoming seemingly more common, and whilst these, often minor issues, are easily resolved by those of us with a degree of technical knowledge, for others, such errors can present a far more damaging threat. Time is quickly eroded, either through diminished technological performance or failed attempts to resolve the issue, and the repercussions to the team's subsequent performance is often dramatically affected. Somewhat disconcerting given the importance of maintaining a high level of performance.

Winning back Efficiency
As humans, we are fallible enough. I fear that as our focus turns increasingly towards technology, the inevitable outcome is ever diminishing levels of efficiency. Sure, many of these technologies are directly responsible for gains in efficiency made in recent years, but as our reliance upon technology causes manufacturers to automate an ever greater proportion of the business process, our ability to remain efficient in the event of system errors is dramatically affected.

What are the implications for the social media? Debatable. Clearly though, as these tools become ever more ingrained into our society, possible repercussions become potentially more devastating; as it stands, downtime on platforms such as Twitter is widely reported. Whilst the negative impacts of Twitter downtime are arguably less damaging than those resulting from downtime to productivity based tools, our dependence upon many social media tools as network facilitators raises an interesting concern. If we lose our access to these instruments, even for a brief time, we effectively become detached from our contacts. Arguably, the impact of such an occurence will depend upon the strength of your social network, but again, as technology advances to cater ever more involving demands, the level of risk will inevitably rise similarly.

What's your take on technology induced inefficiencies? We all love technology, but are we becoming overly reliant upon these tools? Have you ever been affected by social media related downtime, either in a social or professional context? As always, I would love to get your take on the above.


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