There is often the assumption that new is better. Especially with technology. Interestingly, usually when something is new we need to justify the cost, time, and effort to change as worth it in comparison with current practices. However, sometimes digital technologies bypass this phase. Perhaps due to our inherent attraction to new, shiny toys or our desire to be seen as innovative, cutting edge, and so on.
Regardless of the technology, when we consider a new system or a digital solution some questions that are useful to ask include:
- What does it solve?
- What does it leave unsolved?
- And what are the new challenges it creates?
- What are the advantages?
- What are the disadvantages?
- Are there new possibilities it creates?
And then of course there are questions about fit
- Does the solution, its creators, and its supply chain align with our values? Our ethics?
- What are the long term implications – maintenance, relationship with suppliers
- How will it change our culture? What is the impact it will have on power structures?
- How will the business processes need to change?
- What is the cost (time, money, resources) to implement?
- What is cost (time, money, resources) of our current practice?
Here’s the thing. You may not answer ‘there is none’ or only use one word to answer these questions. Choosing technology is not a simple decision. There are pros and cons to everything and technology is far from neutral. Taking the time to answer a few questions will likely lead to good discussions and perhaps help you make better decisions.
The choice is up to us.