It’s no secret that technology is all around us. Everyone uses a smart phone, computer, or fitness device. Even our cars are full of technology. My kids are probably more savvy on technology than me. But this isn’t news. What struck me this week is how technology is being used these days.
I was reading an article about a man who lived for 555 days without a heart. He lived for 1.5 years with a piece of technology in his chest and in a backpack designed to perform the function of a heart until a suitable donor was found for him. Think about that for moment; 1.5 years having technology replace a vital organ. I find it absolutely amazing.
That got me thinking about how technology is elevating the way we think and the way we interact. I don’t know anyone in my life walking around with a backpack doing the job of a heart but my own community is doing some pretty cool stuff.
Our school system will be creating a makerspace in each of our elementary schools. A makerspace is a collaboration space where students and teachers will use their hands, minds and technology to create and learn. It’s about experimentation, failure and success. It goes along with the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. My blog from April 25th is all about the importance of STEM.
Our library just announced the construction of a “Collaboratory”. It’s a state-of-the-art makerspace area within the library. It will house a variety of technology including laser cutters, 3-D printers and a long arm quilting machine. In a library? Where we read and speak in hushed tones? Yup. It’s not just a building of books – it’s a learning space. And what better way to learn than through technology?
Being in the technology field for almost 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of technology improvements mostly related to business. I’ve seen servers shrink and data capacity grow. Technology has certainly made an impact on business. Personally, it’s hard to get excited about that stuff. But seeing how technology is being embraced by the community? That puts a smile on my face. I’m excited to be a part of it and even more for my kids to be a part of it.
~Donna Regan, Marketing
Working for a reseller, I’m exposed to a lot of technology. Don’t get me wrong, as CTO of a hospital, I was exposed to a lot of technology too. But not to the extent I am now. Over the past few years, I’ve been introduced to some technology that has made me say “I wish I knew this about this before, it would have made my job less stressful”. I would have made some very different decisions if I had only had the opportunity.
There are so many manufacturers out there and you know all the big players. You see them weekly. But is that all you are seeing? These larger technology firms already have their footprint in your environment so they can get your attention easier. There’s nothing wrong with having them, they all provide value. What about the technology companies that you aren’t seeing? There are some smaller manufacturers that can bring as much value as the larger ones and can bring some innovative technology with them.
One of the things that really stands out about some of these smaller manufacturers is their approach. They too really want your business but it’s not about them being successful – it’s about how successful you can be with their solution. When I say successful, I don’t just mean from a technical perspective. There are perks and benefits outside of the technology. Many times, they offer free training for your staff or discounts on annual maintenance. They may use you as a case study or success story highlighting your success. They really take the time to get to know your environment. You are a much bigger fish to them.
Heed my advice, some of these smaller manufacturers are worth looking at. If your business partner (reseller) is truly engaged with you and is a trusted partner, listen to them. They will be there through the whole process – introduction, proof-of-concept, configuration, order, post order and beyond. If they are making the suggestion to look at something different, they have good reason.
If you are a CIO, CTO, director, or manager, I plead you to be different. Schedule some time to at least listen to your business partner and get educated on all of these newer technologies and smaller companies. It could be the best thing you ever did for your business and your career.
~Andrew Trogden, CTO