How Businesses Resistance To IT Change Undermines Productivity



In the 1960s-80s business software systems were built by people who at the time thought that, with the rate at which technology was advancing, there was no way businesses would still operate on these systems in 1999. Then with 1999 approaching, the infamous Y2K bug scare rocked the market. Businesses were freaking out because these 20-40 year-old technologies were still essential for day to day operations; so many had no choice but to do a forced upgrade. 20 years later though, many large businesses around the world are running on technology that predates the first ever iPods.

Businesses continue to stay decades behind technology. The bigger the business, the bigger the resistance to change. 20 years ago, we were listening to music on CDs/minidiscs. The way we do music has entirely transformed two times since; first, to no physical content in iPods & MP3 players, then, more recently, to no music ownership (Spotify, Apple Music). This transformation can be seen across the board in technology, except when it comes to business. In 1996 we used mainly used PCs, email (most likely Outlook), Microsoft Office and web browsing. Little has changed 20 years later.

No one is a bigger advocate of Microsoft Office than I am, but the buttons we click on in 2016 are the same buttons we clicked on when we were playing Snake on our Nokia 3210 phones. Newer commands exist which have quite literally transformed the way Excel tables should be created and the way one should format all text in Word, but under five percent of Microsoft Office’s 1.2bn users are aware of these; they continue to use the slow work arounds, equivalent to typing 999337777 to say “YES” in 1990’s text messaging.

Some of the biggest changes to the way we work today compared to 20 years ago includes Facebook marketing, Skype video conferencing and social networking. These changes started out in the consumer market for years before businesses decided it was worth looking at their benefits; five years after tablet computers came into popularity, businesses are now starting to catch on.

There are thousands of great apps for businesses, including project management, accounting, file storage, HR and data analysis that most businesses do not seem to care to explore.

Another fundamental issue is that employers do not put emphasis on training in new tools which can enable their staff to double their productivity. If you spend more than 10 minutes cleaning up data in Excel, fixing errors, aligning items in your PowerPoint slides, or formatting your Word documents, then that time could be better spent creating new content.

In three years of operating in Cambodia, we have unfortunately witnessed a resistance to invest into software systems. Many Cambodians have not had the privilege to witness how a business with efficient systems makes marked improvement. They are reluctant to explore these options and prefer projects which lead directly to profits.

At Xlconsulting we use state of the art technology like creating videos instead of long handover documents, interactive dashboards like this one, a Cambodia specific HR system to automate and accounting software that produces live links to client spreadsheets.

This article was written by David Benaim founder of Xlconsulting. If you are also interested in sharing your business-related articles with B2B Cambodia, please send us a message to [email protected]



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