I am not the most tech savvy person; I admit it. I view technology with a degree of caution and skepticism, but I never yearn for the “old days” of walking great distances in the workplace just to send or receive a fax. In that technology is here to stay and technological advances are a common part of everyday work life, I believe one has to stay abreast of the latest technology that impacts one’s particular line of work. I make countless presentations to attorneys, insurance adjusters, and others and I believe it is important to communicate, as part of my presentation, that my company is up to date, living in the modern world, and knowledgeable about developments in our fields of expertise. For this reason, I was an early adopter of presentations via 35mm slide shows when others were using transparencies; laptop computer presentations using PowerPoint images when others were using slide shows, and currently, iPad presentations with wireless remote control when others are still using PowerPoint. Audience members have often marveled at the effective manner with which my presentations are made and the graphic enhancements contained in the presentation images they never knew were possible. It is important to note that, when one touts oneself as an expert in his/her field, using the latest technology will go a long way in communicating this expertise.
While I agree that keeping pace with technology is important, it is not always easy and can involve steep learning curves. For example, changing from using videotape to record mock juries to digital cameras had a steep learning curve. For confidentiality reasons, we do the video recording and editing in house. Learning what cameras, microphones, speakers, and even cables were required took months. There was some trial and error, considerable internet research, and talking with experts. There was at least 1 near disaster caused by unforeseen radio interference, and then we had to master post production. This transition recently allowed us, however, to develop a client portal where we can upload, and clients can download, videos, reports, etc. The changes we’ve experienced in the last 20 years of business are substantial. And investing in technology is a big cost to a small business. However, we have seen the dark side of not keeping up and, in one instance, the loss of a close business associate (vendor) who could no longer compete due to her failure to modernize her business. So, whether for self preservation, or for impression management, small businesses must find ways to stay up to date, and even ahead, of technology curves that enhance productivity and success. For employees, keep in mind that helping your employer learn how to implement knew technologies will pay off at performance review time!