As Xerox CEO Ursula Burns puts it, we have a few ways in which we can gain more from a process. We can consolidate like processes to specialists, which we may consider a cornerstone of all business. Secondly, we can move these processes to lower-cost areas, out-sourcing. Thirdly, we can use technology to perform the process better. To me, the first is common sense, the second is unethical but practical, and the third is brilliant.
Brilliant as new technologies may be, businesses will only bite if the technology will save time, money, peace of mind, or some other resource. It must be a value greater than the cost itself, plus the cost of implementation.
I’d like to again use Xerox as an example here. A few years ago, there was talk of a IT proximity-based solution. The fraction 1/2 has been thrown around the healthcare industry with respect to the amount of time spent on recording data and communicating the information to other healthcare workers. Xerox has the bright idea (I’m unsure if it’s still being tested or implemented) to cut down on time waste with wireless devices.
Imagine you are a nurse before this technology is available to you. You stop by the front desk, getting word of a new patients arrival, pull out the proper paper work, and walk into a room to greet a patient. You take the data, return to a workstation, log in, pull up the record, find the proper forms to fill out, enter the data and move on.
Now, with the technology. You walk into a room to greet a patient, and your tablet pulls up their exact record, ready for new information. You take the data, done.
In layman’s terms, the technology would require a wireless device attached to each employee and room in the facility.The front desk would enter upcoming patient data to match the rooms data. The data would pull up on tablets, accordingly.
Now, which hospital wouldn’t jump on this? Back to the business side.
Let’s look at some factors that will determine whether or not a decision maker will jump.
- How will it look to their peers and superiors?
- Will it save time, money or other resources?
- Do they care more about the short-term or long-term implementations?
- Do they have cheaper alternatives?
- How soon will this technology become obsolete, thus ruining the investment?
These questions are important to ask before spending immensely on R&D or manufacturing.
♣ Technological Innovation vs. Budget ♠