Tim's Top 10 Tech Frustrations That Drive Business Owners Crazy - My list of "frustrations" that I've heard most during the last decade (plus) from business owners about technology!
- It costs me money, how will it make me money?
- What does social networking do for me?
- How does SEO work for me - is it important?
- It takes too much time to learn!
- It takes too much time to put in my data!
- My In-box is always full!!
- What are techies talking about - LINUX, SQL, CRM,ERP,ASP,IM,SMS,3G,IP,HTML,CSV - It's like foreign language I'm being asked to pay for!
- What is Open Source really? Should I care?
- Apple vs. Microsoft - does it matter?
- When will it be done??!
Most of the time I've spent has been in dealing with these pressing questions from non-technical entrepreneurs and CEOs. While business owners recognize the possibilities and need for technology today for their businesses, at some point, they just get frustrated with technology, and rightly so. It's complicated, it often takes more time and expense than was ever expected and trying to use it can be daunting.
During a ten year hiatus from being a university professor, I've pulled together teams of developers, web designers and engineers - from whom I've learned a bit about what they knew, and a LOT about what they don't know. Each of these Top 10 Tech Frustrations, all of which I've had myself have pushed me closer to find an answer, and to fund a "real" platform for entrepreneurs and business owners. Entrepreneurs want to use technology to run their business, not only because it's smart, because it's the only way to survive and thrive as a business today. So, after eight versions and lots of my own frustrations and expense, the 1to1Real platform and related families of cloud based solutions like 1to1Pharmacy, 1to1MD and 1to1IPM (Investment Portfolio Management) was born.
There are two types of entrepreneurs and business owners when it comes to technology. First, there are those who want to run their business and use technology to become more profitable, more productive, get more customers and keep those they already have. Secondly, are the people who get starry eyed about the possibility of technology and start down the "in-house, I can and will develop it myself, so I can sell it to the world" type. The first type is realistic and they will eventually succeed. The second, the "would-be technology developers" type usually spends tens of thousands (although I've seen a few spend well into the millions) and almost always fail. Once again, "why?" seems an appropriate question.
Each of these Top 10 Frustrations is actually a complex software development, real world challenge that comes along with inventing software. To some of these frustrations there are scientific answers and to others, only trial and error will give you the answer you need for your business.
For small and medium sized businesses the cost of failure is high, and likelihood that a home grown solution will yield success is low. It usually looks like this when we've gone in to a company: A pharmacy/ investment manager/ real estate company (choose a core business) finds a "programmer" who can build a database (the truth is anyone can build a database today). The ideas flow, the system is laid out; the dream has begun. The problem is tools like relational databases, web sites and code can look and function fine; but only to a point. When the system gets a lot of users, data, needs for more functions, the code that was typically generated through these tools becomes what the software industry calls "spaghetti" - it gets all tangled up. Why? Because there is a lot of it, all trying to do pieces and parts of something and then the programmer (business) asks it to do another thing. I've seen this happen time and again, because when it comes down to it, the business developing the solution is not a software engineering firm.
It has taken us a decade to invent, make errors, make changes and to find out how to avoid this technology tangle at any level of load. When you see success in technology you give it a name: Microsoft Outlook, Windows, Apple iPod/iTunes/iPhone, Google, Facebook... When you consider the billions of transactions and processes each has to handle, you appreciate the sophistication.
So how can a pharmacy build a set of transactions that will integrate within a 1.5 trillion dollar health care system, in-house? They can't, but I've seen them try! We worked on the Alberta Health Care system, at the time a $350 million project in the province. We had a small role to come in and help "make it work" - because after $350mm spent, there was an 85% failure rate. We devised a solution that was called "elegant" by the lead engineers. Why were we able to see the solution when they weren't? We've never had big budgets to work with! We work with small businesses who had limited budgets and even more limited time, so we've learned to get from point A to Z as fast and as efficiently as possible.
All of these hold-ups and technology frustrations that cost money, time and drive business owners crazy are going to keep getting worse because technology and its use is getting more complex, not less.
So, for the businesses that want to use technology to be more efficient, and more profitable, we offer the Connected Market Coach program in conjunction with our 1to1Real solutions to get them from A to Z faster and more efficiently. The Connected Market Coach is a solution for entrepreneurs and business owners who love their business and want to do more of what they do best. For those who wish to face their challenges by "figuring it out" and building it in-house, I wish you well. It is a long road. From Harvard to Wharton to MIT, studies show a 70% - 90% failure rate - "the road ahead" has already been paved with tough lessons learned.
Our Connected Market Coach program is by qualification only for one simple reason: priority of your business objectives is the most important success factor. If you'd like to visit us and discuss your goals and how you can use The Connected Market Space to automate, connect and transform your business - visit us at the Connected Market Coach and complete the application.
Here's to overcoming frustrations and the shortest path to connections for success.