Conor Byrne, director and co-owner of ICE ICT
Ninety years since the first television programme was broadcast into living rooms and today you just have show up and watch your favourite shows.
The TV turns itself on and learning from its algorithms, intuitively understands what you like to watch.
This is what invisible technology looks like – IT that works in the background. As a TV viewer you can watch what you want to watch, without worrying about how it got there in the first place.
So what does invisible technology in IT look like?
First, we’ve come along way since the days of noisy dial-up modems and lots of interconnecting wires. The next step is removing the need for technical expertise.
Invisible technology is about intuitive software that lets you get on with your work. If you choose the right technology and integrate it well you will have achieved this.
We believe that you shouldn’t have to be an IT whizz to use a computer and do your job well. It’s like having to be a plumber to take a shower.
Here’s our three-step process to help make technology invisible:
• Step 1: Hide the engine in the cloud
• Step 2: Use modern, simple interfaces
• Step 3: Follow a tried and tested procurement process and seek out experts
Hide the engine in the cloud
The cloud removed the need for large, expensive computer rooms in-house. Instead, many use the skills of managed service providers who employ experts to look after data centres. However, it is unlikely that a SME can afford to employ the level of competence to run a datacentre efficiently.
Usually, this is carried out by a broad spectrum IT team who do a decent job. However, the risk is that your company is reliant on technology and the best efforts of your IT team may not be enough in this scenario.
What other parts of the business are managed by less than expert skills?
The risk lies in running high-end networking and computer hardware used in a datacenter. Look for IT teams with local support and expert knowledge of how IT needs to support the business users. This is a skill that most managed service providers don’t provide.
Use modern, simple interfaces that require one push of the button
What is the actual reason for computers in business?
The answer is, they are only useful to deliver the required applications and content. Remember the hours lost waiting for Windows to boot up, for the login to take place and your chosen application to start up?
The only industry that did well in this situation was the coffee industry! Roll in the iPad, this is what invisible technology looks like. Press the button and you are ready to go.
Once the investment is made, good quality modern technology should continue to deliver the applications to you quickly and reliably.
Follow a tried and tested procurement process and seek out experts
This step is all about reaching invisible technology, The Applications. It sounds a bit like a BBC Sunday night drama, full of intrigue, spellbinding costumes, made for a broad audience but produced at speed with lots of continuity issues. The biggest complaint of these TV dramas is that the screenplay does not represent the original novels.
Applications today follow a very similar path, in that they often don’t relate to what the business needs. Instead, the business must mould its services and products to fit around the very expensive software.
BBuying an application is not the same as buying socks, one size does not fit all. A business tends to need a number of interrelated applications to sell and manage their products. These applications may also need to integrate with many other external applications to sell products and manage clients.
All too often the client-vendor relationship breaks down because of a lack of expertise with two different sets of people.
First, because a proper procurement process was not followed, and instead carried out by well-intentioned people with limited knowledge of the breadth of applications and technology.
Second because application sales people, like anyone else in sales, will always convince clients that their product is the one. They forget to point out that you will need additional integration to get a solution. This tends to happen because they are not experts either.