If you’re like me, nowadays you have a wallet full of plastic rather than notes, which is rapidly becoming old school with the onset of mobile technology and Apple Pay. Just recently when standing at the checkout at my local hardware, I watched the lady in front of me just wave her watch under the scanner to pay, something that was inconceivable 10 years ago.
The inevitable question is this: how do we keep up with a constantly evolving world that’s becoming more and more tech-driven? The answer is simple: we keep evolving, too.
That’s exactly what we have done over the last 25 years; we’ve constantly evolved, adopted and embraced new technology. I remember having a conversation with a client in the mid 90’s, explaining, “it’s not perfect, but this is cutting edge technology that’s allowing us to email you a proof rather than post a proof, which, given you are in Sydney saves both time and money.” At the time I was talking about a PDF! No longer did we have to print and send out hard copies, with the click of a button we could email a proof instantly, to anywhere in the world.
In the late 90’s when the web was starting to gain momentum, the number one question we got asked was, “how can we update our website”? Back then content management systems (CMS) were complex and very expensive, and unless you knew how to code there wasn’t an easy solution. Given the web was here to stay we set about to develop our own CMS that would make it easy and affordable to update your website. We had already developed a module that allowed you to manage and update ASX and press releases, so we evolved this into a CMS and Sitebox® was born, which is still operational today.
I am not advocating that you have to develop and invent new technology, but rather you have to decide if you are going to be a game changer or early adopter. If you favour the latter then you need to be prepared to jump in and start surfing the technology wave. On the other hand, game changers like Apple have set themselves as leaders and innovators of technology, and are still revolutionising the world to this day. Interestingly, Steve Jobs was one who preferred to wait until everything was aligned before jumping in. He once said, “These waves of technology, you can see them way before they happen, and you just have to choose wisely which ones you’re going to surf. If you choose unwisely, then you can waste a lot of energy, but if you choose wisely, it actually unfolds fairly slowly. It takes years.”
Our industry has undergone massive changes in technology; it’s constantly evolving and changing, particularly in the digital space. Whilst presenting its challenges we have embraced technology and I believe led the way amongst our peers.
Fifteen years ago we utilised what was available in web technology and built from the ground up an online (extranet) system to manage our internal operations including quoting, time management and ordering. Not long after we built this system I was holidaying in remote Tasmania and at the resort lodge I was able to open a web browser, log into the system and see what jobs had been booked in, and what had been quoted whilst I was away. While today with the development of the cloud we take this for granted, 15 years ago it was impressive (there’s an inner geek in all of us!). This system still underpins our business today and whilst a little clunky and in need of an overhaul, is still very effective.
For us it has been a case of adopting technology and embracing what it has to offer, but at the same time being mindful not to invest too many resources into one thing. In other words, not banking everything on one wave as there may be a bigger and better wave that comes next.
As a last word, be sure to not let technology intimidate you. Embrace what it has to offer and the potential it can bring.