When technology takes over
I was prompted to write this piece after reading the following in Inc. magazine*:
“Despite the warm feelings generated by creating jobs, employees are a cost - something businesspeople want to minimize. What’s changing is companies’ ability to get by with fewer and fewer people thanks to the (growing) litany of tasks that can be digitized and automated. In 2018, building for success increasingly means building lean.”
My immediate response was that the article doesn’t address is the increasing amount of security that every user (including you and I) has to address in order to continue using applications and websites. We’re in the throes of big changes in security when it comes to the use of digital technology. And as business owners, no matter if you have a one-person or 100-person enterprise, you’re going to have to be coping with changes, whether you like it or not. How much additional time is it taking?
I’ve previously written about how micro business enterprises are severely impacted when personal emergencies occur, ranging from sickness to family matters. While it’s a challenge for employees of larger companies to deal with such things, if you run your own show, emergencies can bring the ability to earn a living to a complete halt. Sudden, drastic changes to the technology you use can also cause you a lot of trouble.
It seems that there was a golden period of digital technology that made it relatively easy to make the most of online platforms. With scammers and hackers becoming more sophisticated and large companies hoarding too much data on individuals, governments are increasingly stepping in to protect citizens, hence the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that protects European citizens, regardless of where they’re located. While some people say that the USA is too controlled by large companies to ever implement such measures, the reality is that people in North America are commenting upon the improvement of data security not owing to local legislation, but this EU legislation that is forcing companies who have presence in Europe to get onboard.
This is excellent from a consumer point of view (meaning for starters that it will become more difficult for companies to spam you, as they’ll risk serious fines), but from your perspective as a business owner, how will you cope with the extra time required?
In the past month, much of my time has been taken by technology. Consider several examples, including: a changeover in email server for one company (= at last a day of my time), an upgrade to Dropbox Business to be GDPR compliant (= 3 days and counting) and a forced changeover of Apple ID owing to a ‘security issue’ which impacted connected platforms, too (= 1 hour). While the temptation is to think that time has been wasted, the reality is that, for anyone who uses digital technology, the time taken for such activities is essential to run your enterprise.
As a business owner, I urge you to think about how you can up-skill to understand what to do yourself OR work out who you can bring in to help you keep on top of it all (and how you’ll pay for this, if applicable). This digital world requires know-how, and while many people have been able to get away with only basic understanding, more skill is going to be needed in future. It’s good for us all as individuals an consumers, but a headache for us as business owners.
**Related blog post: 'Want your personal data to be safe?' by Susan J Mumford.