Technology is an Enabler

First of all, what is an enabler?  For good or ill, an enabler is something or someone that helps (enables) something to happen.   Technology by itself does nothing.  It sits there.  A very expensive piece of software or a cute looking smart phone that does absolutely NOTHING.

Until a human being picks up the tool — from the invention of the wheel to the invention of the iPhone — nothing happens.  A tool is only as good as the person using it.

The wheel is a prime example.  A wheel can be used to power a wheelbarrow, allowing heavy items to be transported with relative ease on one wheel being pushed by a human.  A wheel is the basis of many simple machines.  Take two wheels, a large wheel rigidly secured to a smaller wheel or shaft, (called an axle) and you have a modified lever.  It is the two wheels, the wheel and axle that allows a car to  travel many miles or kilometers an hour as the wheels turn and turn again, moving the car forward.

But without humans doing something the wheel is just a round do-nut that sits there looking pretty.

What is true of the wheel is true of every machine ever built, or which will ever be invented.  People have to use them, and use them wisely for them to do anything at all.

Somehow when it comes to technology people forget it is simply a tool.  Many people seem to expect technology to magically improve their lives.

Technology is not magic.   It is just another enabler which can help only if we first examine what we need, how we are fulfilling that need today — and only then asking the question “can technology” make this job faster, more efficient, cost less to do — or somehow make me more money by letting me do this job faster.

I am a huge fan of CRM (customer relationship management).  Yet 70% of all CRM implementations fail.  70% fail!  Can we blame all this failure on the tools?  Or are people expecting too much of the tool itself?

Everything starts and ends with people.  CRM can be a fantastic tool, but you have to think of what your business does, and how you make money today.  Then and only then can you even consider if technology can help you do the job better.

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About Sandra Eisenberg

Dynamic pragmatic marketing and sales executive whose biggest asset is converting technology to real corporate value -- for a variety of industries including health care providers (Adventist Health System Sunbelt), Teradata (Data Warehousing), RWD Technologies (quality improvement and professional services), Siemens and AT&T (telecom). Sandra brings twenty years of experience in sales, marketing and IT management. Her career spans entrepreneurial firms (E5 Marketing) and senior positions in sales, sales management (direct and indirect), marketing, channel development and product management at Bell Labs and NCR Teradata. A few career highlights: • Total product lifecycle management (PLM) using ISO 9001 and other quality methodologies. Sunset aging product lines and developed a migration path to a new, open standards platforms at Avaya, NCR and Bell Labs. • 1st woman to win the AT&T and NCR Teradata national sales awards -- top sales manager and sales rep at AT&T, NCR Teradata and Avaya • Delivered profitable marketing campaigns in the area of CRM, Business intelligence, contact centers and other high tech areas • Run call centers, sold call centers and been in product management of call centers (Avaya, AT&T and NCR) • Director of CRM Strategic Planning and Alliances at Avaya and NCR Teradata • Senior Manager of Product Management Bell Labs (business intelligence, data warehousing and CRM) Most recently Sandra managed the Central Florida territory for Siemens' telephony division. Siemens is selling this division soon and their loss can be your gain.

Posted on August 18, 2010, in customer relationship management. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Technology is an enabler for the good and it is almost magic. I think 90% of the jobs today would not be possible if technology disappeared.

    +1 for this article

  2. I absolutely agree. But technolopgy today is too complex and not enough focused ON PEOPLE but on hardcoded processes that DO NOT empower the people to execute as needed. Therefore technology becomes a disabler as a recent study by HP has shown.

    Technology has to enable the executive to draw the business model and transform that into tactics and goal oriented processes. How? Only using the right technology and not with methodology.

    Max J. Pucher, Chief Architect ISIS Papyrus Software

  3. Too often IT people are not versed in the core business values and they may not understand how sales, customer service, (fill in the blank) really operates. In some firms IT comes in with a sledgehammer and tells sales to adjust, totally ignoring corporate culture and the real needs of the organization. When this happens you do indeed have a disabler. Corporations need to invest in corporate training (perhaps even “internships” for IT folks in sales or customer service) as much as they do the latest fad. Only by communicating and truly understanding a team’s needs can technology enable improvement. How can you solve a problem when you don’t even know what the problem IS?

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