Imagine what it must be like to be in the trade of providing businesses with absolutely magical tools and to have them go essentially unused. Open up Word and just scan the various menus – do you know what half of that stuff does? What about Excel? Have you ever opened PowerPoint? See what I’m saying?
I do not at all intend to be condescending with that point. I understand. We’re human and change is hard. Learning new tricks is challenging, especially when there are so many tricks to learn. Technology is overwhelming and it isn’t just limited to computers. I could also ask you to really examine your TV remote control and you’d have the same problem (you don’t know what half the buttons do). So we (the kind folks at Smart Dolphins IT Solutions) have always kept our expectations low for the average person’s usage of technology.
This is changing. I’m sensing that more and more professionals are really embracing technology instead of simply tolerating technology. It is becoming a business tool, instead of just a necessary evil. I have some tangible (yet, a little obscure) evidence of this trend that I’d like to share.
We launched our web-based customer portal a few months ago. The portal itself doesn’t have a ton of functionality to overwhelm the average person, but it does require some effort and a change in our clients’ behaviour. At this stage (we’ll be adding more “buttons” over time), the portal allows our customers to securely log in to the system and to work with two things (live within our system):
- Create, edit and review service orders
- Review invoices
The Customer Portal is a relatively slick system and could probably save most of our clients a lot of time by being able to interact with our internal system so directly and quickly. Because of my low expectations described above, I didn’t think our customer portal would get much usage. I know we have a few very technologically-keen clients (early adopters) that would use this tool, but I thought it would mostly go ignored. While in a perfect world, I’d report that ALL our customers are using it, I am excited to report that in this imperfect world we have over 25% of our clients using the system over the first few months. Yes, 25% is only half of half, but I sense this is the start of the “early majority” engaging and embracing in business technology. I think we are starting to see technology adoption among professionals in small to medium-sized businesses pick up speed. Exciting.