Keeping Up With Technology in the Workplace

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Advancements in technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are creating a workforce that needs to be increasingly more intelligent, aware and understanding of the progressions being made.

Managers and professionals are at a disadvantage in that they must make certain to remain current with the latest technologies for managing their business. This article offers some tips for managers to keep pace with continuously updating technologies in the workplace.

Data Is King

The volume of data we are able to collect in our organizations is remarkable. In most firms, customer interactions are captured at every possible point—sales, customer service, technical service, and marketing.

The internet has connected millions of people, giving rise to the collection of consumer shopping habits, vacation schedules, locations, and a multitude of other information. Social media and advertising merged, giving businesses unprecedented access to consumers and their information.

This information is mined (collected) and stored for analysis and use. Savvy business owners understand the importance of mining and how they can use this data to improve decision-making in support of customers and employees. Owners and managers should invest in cultivating their skills in the following areas:

  • Using the latest data analytics software products in their firms to look for trends and spot opportunities
  • Developing the ability to use the growing body of visualization software to make data and analysis presentable and easily consumable by users
  • Leveraging the real-time monitoring capabilities of many marketing automation software products for assessing and adjusting promotions activities
  • Using dashboards and other automated scorecards that measure and report critical key performance indicators in real-time
  • Assessment of data in different systems

Managers can strengthen their data and related technology skills by exploring the capabilities of their software. They should also regularly explore industry or professional publications. Additionally, there are a number of organizations dedicated to sharing the latest technology trends as they relate to data for interested professionals.

Communication

The devices we use have given us many new ways to communicate with team members and colleagues.

Many software applications and operating systems have built-in chat functions that enable individuals to see who’s online and available. These tools provide video/voice calls, instant messaging, screen sharing, and collaboration tools.

Identify and Monitor Technology Trends

Remaining current with major advancements in technology is an increasingly important part of a manager’s role. You should be on the lookout for new capabilities that will enable your business to serve its customers more effectively and efficiently.

Newer technologies can advance or improve internal efficiencies and reduce costs. There are a variety of tactics a manager can take to strengthen their knowledge:

  • Read publications that focus on how innovative firms are applying new technologies to serve customers, communicate with far-flung employees and innovate. Mainstream business websites and periodicals all invest time and webspace covering advances in technology.
  • Monitor the ways leading firms outside your industry are applying new technologies to compete and win. Some of the best ideas for using technology tools in new ways will take place outside the boundaries of your industry.
  • Attend industry events outside of your own industry, attend working sessions and visit events where firms are displaying new technologies.
  • Follow technology and business experts who are exploring and reporting on the latest trends in the markets.
  • Ask your customers and business partners what new technologies they are exploring or using in their firms.
  • Take advantage of any training opportunities offered by your firm’s software and technology vendors.
  • Use the training opportunities offered by your firm on the different technology tools available for employee use.

Firms Rely on Updated Technology

It is easy to lose track of the external world when we are safely tucked behind the walls of our organizations. Many managers develop an insular view, relying on only their tech savvy colleagues and customers to share insights and ideas.

Managers should recognize the danger of developing a small, narrow view of this ever-changing landscape. They should take the initiative to pursue any or all developing methods and strive to translate their insights and observations into actions they can take.

Remaining current on latest developments in technology ensures that your business stays competitive. You should try to work with your teams to explore, experiment, and adopt new technologies when they can benefit your business.

Firms rely on new tech because competitors will be making the transitions also. If they are not, the move to newer tech gives an advantage to those that do.

Your Career Relies on Updated Knowledge

Employers need and expect you to be current with technology and capable of quickly leveraging new ideas. Managers can no longer afford to rely on their team members and peers to provide all of the technical skills while they manage the workplace. Instead, every person on a team, including you as the manager, must be familiar with and capable of leveraging the latest tech tools.

Your Skills Have a Shelf-Life

A general rule of thumb regarding technology is that every 24 months, the tools we use evolve to the next generation.

This means that the training you took a few years ago is old news. If you choose not to stay up-to-date in with the newest tech that could be used for your business, you might find your skills and methods falling behind.

The Essence of It All

We live and work in a remarkable period of ever-advancing technology. While these tools are powerful assistants in our drive to manage, lead, and compete the pace with which they change raises costs both in money and time spent learning.

Strive to remain current and don't let your skills grow old. Work to develop habits in staying updated. If you do, it will pay off in the long-run for your firm and your career.