How has adoption of personal technology and business technology diverged?

How has adoption of personal technology and business technology diverged?

Have you noticed that many of our friends, family or employees are running around with the latest gadgets and devices, from mobile phones and tablets to those health bands around wrists for tracking personal metrics?

Many of us will buy devices and subscribe to services spending money each month to get what we want from a lifestyle perspective. We invest in gadgets and subscriptions to services from Foxtel to internet and mobile data plans, apps and more.

This is part of the ‘now’ generation of grabbing what is cool and fun and using it. There is no return on investment consideration for these technology buying actions, just personal satisfaction from having new features and functions and new capabilities or expanded options for entertainment or communicating with friends. There is no question it is changing how people live and how we spend our spare moments.

For the past couple of years we have been talking about the nexus of forces introduced by Gartner as mobility, big data, social and cloud and we have been contemplating this from a business focus, but in the meanwhile it has boomed in the personal space, and this is now putting pressure on the business sector.

Staff are no longer content to put up with slow legacy IT systems in the workplace and will find mobile apps to do jobs once done with company computers. This is leading to the demand for better workplace tools, the ability to bring personal devices into work – the BYOD phenomenon – and the security risks that go with it.

Recently we have seen the fifth force in the nexus become security as we hear more news on hacked sites and systems. Crypto-locker virus is on the rise and is highlighting the need for rock solid backup in every business, from micro to enterprise.

Just this week, I heard my first case where a business had no backup and took the risk of buying the decryption key. Here is the scary bit. When the IT guy that failed to implement backup told them he had then secured the network so the hackers did not have access to other data, they believed him!

In general, Australian businesses are now well behind on technology adoption and have underdone the whole backup, disaster recovery and security and have also underdone the innovation to find cost savings. Yet on a personal level we are still early adopters. Now we have a workforce where the low tech baby boomers are keen to step down and the pool of workers to hire are Gen-Y, who have high expectations of workplace technology. This divergent thinking is creating niche opportunities but often at the expense of existing businesses.

It is clearly time for business to address the divergence and look for business improvement opportunities in technology.

Times are still hard in the SME sector, so we are shy on the investment front. However, finding the biggest cost areas in a business and trimming them back with prudent use of technology has been happening since the industrial revolution. Despite the fears of jobs being wiped out by automation, this has led to the most rapid acceleration in living standards the developed world has experienced.

Adopting technology to reduce waste in business or to accelerate growth is still key to the wellbeing and competitiveness of our businesses and our communities. Please reach out and seek help to innovate before some Gen-Y startup teaches you how business is done today.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?

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