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Which Came First – the People or the Tech?

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It’s true in every industry, we want to implement faster, feel more secure, and be more efficient.  I have a great idea.  Let’s buy a tool or some technology for that.  Technology will make it all better, Right?  Wrong!  This is however the unfortunate situation that many organizations face time and time again.  It is also a conversation that plays itself out repeatedly at many conferences.

Last week I attended ABS Technologies Fall Tech Fest in Roanoke, VA, and it got me thinking about this again.  The event was great, and pulled in speakers from Cisco, Global Knowledge Training, and Schneider Electric, who shared some interesting perspectives and advice.  Unfortunately, though, the conversations were almost solely about throwing technology at problems.  Yes, I get it, the event name “Tech Fest” does tell you that there is obviously going to be a focus on Technology, but this neglects some very important factors that really should be considered before thinking about any technology.

The day started with a great presentation from Dave Buster who traced back the Target security breach of 2013.  You all remember how big an issue it was, impacting over 60 million customers.  Chances are you were probably one of them.  This sent people clambering to find an IT solution to close the vulnerability.  But as you listen to the story, it all traces back to human error driven by poor IT and data security policies at a 3rd party vendor.  Here is the thing though, technology won’t solve that problem.  If you don’t know what those systems are connected to, who has access, or why they are used, it is very difficult to define an effective policy.  It also nearly impossible to ensure you are implementing the right technology. 

We have all seen the PPT triangle, or some variation of it, that represents People, Process, & Technology. 


Do you notice what comes last in the list?  I’m sorry to my IT brethren, but it’s Technology.  There is a reason for that.  You can not deploy technology without competent people, supporting processes, and an overall understanding of your strategy.  Well, you can if you aren’t concerned with ROI…

There were other sessions at the event on IoT and Capabilities Mapping that would have benefited by connecting the dots between the three.  One even started by showing the PPT triangle and saying that we were mainly going to focus on people & process, but unfortunately that was the last time people or process were mentioned as the presenter only talked about technology.

I would love for this conference to have taken a broader approach.  There was so much potential to really open-up the discussions and provide true perspective and guidance, that technology is only a tool.  And like all tools (technology), if they are in the hands of someone (people) who does not know how to use it (process), they can be dangerous and the results catastrophic (See what I did there with Technology before People and Process). In the case of Target, that was $18.5m, 47 state lawsuit, AND a $10m class action settlement. 

iGrafx has been connecting the dots of People, Process, and Technology for over 25 years.  We have a Proven Process that captures and aligns your strategy, people, process, and technology to unite your entire organization.  Contact us to find out how we can help you.

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