Technical dependency

New hardware and software can save companies a great deal of money and improve efficiencies — there is no doubt about that. Technology firms are producing more and more programs that can help businesses, and firms should certainly take advantage of them.

But are we relying too heavily on technology to solve our problems? What happens when the technology fails, as it sometimes can? Companies have disaster recovery plans, but what happens if the computers crash or the power goes out? Do employees know how to function in the absence of technology?

I recently visited my local video rental store. The check-out lines were long, and I soon discovered why – the computers were down.

The manager was on the phone trying to restore functionality, but in the meantime, customers waited and the cashiers stood looking dismayed and confused. All business stopped while the computers were down because the cashiers had no system in place to conduct business without them.

An employer can lose a great deal of money when a critical computer or server goes down for even just an hour. Yet computers are not 100 percent reliable, and no one can guarantee that a computer will never go offline, especially with so many viruses and worms seeking to infect our systems.

No company should be so vulnerable that it loses money when a computer goes down. And no customer should have to stand and wait because a computer system isn’t working.

Before computers, people transacted business. Maybe it took a little longer, but it can be done. Employees need to know how to manually record transactions, open cash drawers and keep records so that business doesn’t come to a screeching halt if technology hiccups.

At the video rental store, more than one customer left, tired of waiting. I asked the manager if there weren’t some way to conduct business while the computers were down — and the answer was no.

Don’t let your company fall into this trap. Evaluate your dependency on computers, and have a back-up plan in place.

Your technology costs you too much money already. Don’t let it cost you more.

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