So, on my way to see American Assassin during opening weekend, I got the great idea to be a bit thrifty. Instead of paying for the metered parking in front of the theater, I decided to hoof it nearly two blocks from the free street parking. Only, when I got there, the movie had just sold out “about 5 minutes ago” as the woman at the counter said. This, of course, is a way bigger cosmic insult than if the movie had been sold out for hours.
If misguided thriftiness began and ended with a missed movie or two I wouldn’t be writing this. However, this scenario happens on a much larger and frustrating scale as businesses are constantly trying to save a few bucks on technology and end up missing the big picture in the process (see what I did there?).
When you fail to invest in infrastructure, you’re going to miss the show and much more, including:
Security: One of the key components to running a business well is having optimal security. While this can mean physical security for your facilities, for our purposes we’ll focus on the impact of secure technology.
By investing in updated firewalls, antivirus software and other components of safe technology, you’re not only guarding against a breach from outsiders, you’re also giving employees peace of mind and the resources they need for productivity. Proper security also makes your technology more mobile because employees can use it away from the office without fear of a lapse in protection.
Productivity: Allowing employees to take their work with them will also, undoubtedly, increase productivity and employee satisfaction while you’re at it. Modern workers, especially young workers, are accustomed to having information, entertainment and more on demand and their work should be no different.
Because mobile applications are in tune with what your workers are already doing, making them available will facilitate productivity. Workers will also feel more at ease with and take less time to learn new tasks that are presented in a format they already know and love.
Training: Throwing bad training after good employees has about as great of a result as you can imagine. But this is exactly what many companies do. They rely on old training methods such as all-day conferences and stale classroom courses and wonder why information isn’t sticking or making a difference in how work is done.
Investing in technology is often the key to changing this and getting effective and engaging training for your workers. While eLearning isn’t the answer to every skill deficit your employees have, it does provide solutions for many issues at a fraction of the cost of other training methods.
The ability to make the training mobile and accessible will, once again, appeal to modern workers. Since employees can choose when and how they access information, they are more likely to do so on a consistent basis.
Attracting and Retaining Quality Workers: With virtually all businesses relying on some kind of technology, keeping this updated is one way to attract and retain quality workers. While a tech company looking for fresh innovators will be most affected by this, even less technology centered businesses will find that workers are happier when proper investments in updates are made.
For example, many older restaurants and retail stores may try to get away with not updating to a new point of sale system. Not only will this lead to more discrepancies in charges and longer wait times for customers, but employees will also be frustrated. Any waiter or cashier that has to put up with this on top of other poor working conditions will soon be gone. You’ll find yourself losing good employees and having to waste time and resources hiring and training new ones.
Time: Ultimately, all these things result in a loss of our greatest resource: time. Whenever someone makes a case for not updating technology, look more closely and you’ll almost always see that the real cost is now transferred to time.
There will be no way to get this resource back and it will often be taken away from more important pursuits. For instance, employees won’t have the time to be innovative or improve themselves as they’re bogged down with slow technology and avoidable security issues.
Whether it’s good employees having their time wasted on inferior applications or it’s missing a show time and ending up obliterating an hour and a half of your time seeing The Emoji movie, when you take shortcuts you lose quality and value. This is the real cost of not investing in your company’s infrastructure and the reason why you should value it above short-term money savings.