You don’t need to have been around for long to encounter the occasional veteran employee who dislikes, distrusts and avoids using new technology. In the ‘70s and ‘80s some workers were skeptical about and hostile to the use of computers. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, some resisted efforts to apply sophisticated automation to operations, production and logistical processes. In the ‘90s and ‘00s, some dragged their feet in resistance to working in the fast-paced, “always on” connected world made possible by the Internet.
Now, ironically, technology itself is tackling the problem of technology resistance.
In most cases, the information technology resistance is the result of a lack of understanding: the individual does not understand how the new technology will make his life better or further his career, especially when weighed against the perceived difficulty in learning how to use, and eventually mastering that new technology.
Typically, once people came to understand the relationship between the new technology and their work life and career prospects, they learned how to use it to at least enough to get by.
Data visualization technology makes it easy
Today, companies can acquire effective and inexpensive data visualization technology that literally draws a picture for folks, showing them how the technology they’re being asked to use can help them and their companies to operate more efficiently, more rapidly, more accurately and more profitably.
And the funny thing is, data visualization wasn’t designed to be a sales tool to convince technologically reluctant employees to catch up with the times. That’s just a side benefit.
Data visualization technology actually is aimed at helping enterprise owners and managers understand more quickly and accurately what is happening within their operations within any given period of time. Indeed, today’s sophisticated data visualization technology is designed not only to tell leaders what has happened in the past, but what is happening at this moment – and even what will happen in the moments and days ahead.
More than cave drawings and power point
Men have been using data visualization virtually forever. Cavemen drew primitive maps featuring stick figure animals as a way of showing others where hunting for various types of game likely would meet with success. In more recent business history, companies over the last half of the 20th century learned how to use the talents of commercial artists and graphics experts to use charts and graphs effectively to tell visual stories that needed few or no words. More recently, the business world has learned how to automate the process in a way that makes it possible for those of us whose artistic abilities don’t even reach the level of cave drawings to produce visually appealing and effective charts, graphs, and slide presentations.
There’s more, however, to today’s data presentation technology than making it so that everyone can be a PowerPoint wizard.
The rapid advances in data tracking, processing and analysis summed up in the buzzword “Big Data” means that enterprise leaders at all levels of the business world can now see the complete picture of what’s going on within their companies, departments, and offices. Literally. Rather than having to pour over long, complex spread sheets for hours, business decision makers at all levels can look at the picture drawn expressly for them about what’s happening inside the machines for which they’re responsible, what is passing over the loading docks they run, what progress is being made on the project they’re managing, what the demand is for the products they’re selling. And the pictures being drawn by today’s data visualization technology are not of the past. Rather they are of the now. And in some cases, with the assistance of predictive modeling technology, they’re pictures of the future.
Best viewed as decision support technology
Perhaps the best way to understand today’s data visualization technology is to view it as the movie based on a book, with the book being the detailed “Big Data” streaming out of today’s intensely monitored and tracked business operations. As with the real world of Hollywood entertainment, some super fans are bound to say “I liked the book better.” But most of us wait for the movie to come out because it allows us to “see” and “understand” the story without the time-consuming effort required to actually read hundreds of pages. Only, with today’s data visualization technology you don’t have to wait two or three years after the book hits the shelves for the movie to show up in theaters.
Data visualization technology, while a nifty tool for convincing recalcitrant workers to get onboard with new technologies in the workplace, is best seen as critically important decision support technology. It can help SMB owners and managers make fast decisions that can help grow their business’ market share, reduce costs or in other ways gain a market advantage and earn better profits.
So if your company doesn’t have data visualization technology in place yet, or that which you have isn’t as advanced as it should be, it’s worth it to engage a well-qualified team of technology advisors who can help your company define its needs and find the right data visualization equipment and software.