Are employees trained by their tools?

Are employees trained by their tools?

Summary: We use information communications tools to ease the way we work. Over time, do these tools influence the way we work instead?


Most of us use infocomm tools to ease the way we work, but over time, do these tools influence the way we work instead?

In a recent conversation, two professionals quipped that their brains think in 6-minute or 15-minute blocks. They explained that because they charge clients by the hour, they tap software commonly used in their profession to clock their effort, organize the work done by the client, and for the client's project.

While the applications we use are not that intelligent yet, to ease most of the pain of managing the tedious parts of our work, we bear with the few constraints that come with the software as a tradeoff.

Interestingly, over time, these software tools seem to be training us to think and act their way. Rather, the developers of these products lead us to believe that their way is derived from the best practice for our industry. Is this always true? Will this continue? Do these situations occur only in organizations which can afford to buy these fancy software tools?

On the other hand, startups or smaller businesses which can only afford free or cheap basic software tools, and organizations which are more focused on saving costs will build on the fact that their tools are basic, use and even customize their tools to support the way they think and act to fulfil their work requirements.

Simple as all these may sound, it is worth pondering whether the lack of fancy software is really the cause of our work problems. Also worth thinking about is whether and how we can simplify the way we think and act so we can reduce or eliminate the need for fancy software.

I am not against implementing sophisticated software that are user-friendly and offer advanced features. I am just not fond of applications that have many more features than users ever need in their work lifetime, and do nothing more than inflict other useful software to work more slowly.

Topics: Enterprise Software, IT Employment, Project Management

Imelda Tan

About Imelda Tan

Based in Singapore, Imelda is an arts fan disguised as a business consultant and Infocomm technical writer.

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  • Just Terminology

    I now see the world in an object-oriented manor. I think of everything as classes and instances. Not just my programs but everything in the physical world as well. It is really no different in how I saw things before but now I attach different words to them. The result is my thoughts are more consistent and organized. I do not think it is as much being trained by the tools as it is collective thought coming threw the tools and giving everyone a more consistent terminology. When we all speak the same language hopefully it will allow us to communicate to each other better.
    • Communication

      Hi :)
      Comunicate with
      Comunicate to

      "To" suggests the communication is one way only and something you impose on others. The word "communication" means a multi-directional give and take with listenign to the other people's ideas often being more important than spouting your own. So, it's "communicate with", not "at" or "to".

      Remember the "babel fish"? By effectively removing all barriers in communication between peoples of all nations it caused more and bloodier wars than anything in all of creation.
      Regards from
      Tom :)
      • mm not m

        Hi :)
        Oops, a spelling mistake! Oh no!!!
        Regards from
        Tom :)
  • The other way round...

    it is often the big companies that spend millions customosing the software solutions to fit the way they work.

    It is often the smaller companies that take off the shelf software and adjust their working to fit the software, because they cannot invest in bespoke software to work the way they want / need.

    A standard SAP or other ERP package works with very basic implementations of processes. The real investment comes in customizing it to fit the way you work. For some industries, the off-the-shelf ERP solutions just don't fit, they can't follow the workflow and they can't capture the data in real time.

    We provide solutions for the food industry, including tight integration of ERP into the slaughter line, cutting & deboning etc. processes. In the slaughter industry, the PLCs need to work in microseconds, but ERP software, like SAP can't work at that level. Do you really want to cut your production by a few thousand percent, just so that your ERP solution can keep up? Of course not. We provide solutions that either collect the data on the production line or act as a connector / buffer to the existing ERP solutions (I won't turn this into an ad by naming names).

    Standard business software, like ERP, CRM etc. cannot hope to cover all industries well, so they cover a couple well and provide the basics for the rest. That means a lot of hard work to get the software up and running for individual businesses.
  • What if...

    What if there were a version of Word that shipped with only the features that 98% of people use. Bold, Intend, Ariel font, and Double space? OK...Save and Print. But that's it. Think about it.
    • Just Terminology, The other way round..., What if...

      Hi MichaelInMA, wright_is and billcush

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!