“What do you mean my technology isn’t working? It worked fine when it was set-up. What happened?”
There is a common misconception that technology should continue to work like new for a long time. Yet, we all have experiences of technology degrading and breaking with time. Let’s unveil a little of the mystery behind “what happened” and come to grips with the reality of Technology Volatility.
First, understand that most of this degradation happens slowly and imperceptibly. Sure, we’ve all had some piece of technology, a server say, just stop working. This kind of degradation is pretty obvious. The reality is most technology problems are minor. A computer slows down a bit or it freezes and needs a reboot occasionally. We’ve grown to expect this type of thing with our computers, no? So we don’t think about this much and ignore the little stuff. This makes it feel like, a lot of the time, it is, in fact, running like new. It’s only when the small problems mount on one another that we start to pay attention that things aren’t as they should be.
Technology in a business environment is like the earth’s tectonics – quietly volatile. You can’t usually see technology volatility in the moment, just like you can’t see the earth’s crust moving. Yet, in time, the evidence is clear. Tectonics converts Pangaea into continents and business technology left without the right attention will fail. IT earthquakes, both big and small are simply a matter of when.
So what actually is happening? Why are your computer systems falling apart as you read this?
Of course, a business computer network is complex so there are many reasons for problems. Here are a few things that contribute:
- Innocent (or not) Misuse by Employees. Downloads. Surfing. Opening the wrong, interesting emails. Tossing the technology in the purse/backpack on the floor.
- Poor Initial Configuration. There are lots of different ways to set something up initially – some ways are better than others.
- New Elements added to the System. We install that new CRM software. We swap out our Antivirus software. We incorporate a new VOIP phone system. Each element that is added to the system increases the complexity and potential for problems.
- Components Removed. Not all removal happens cleanly.
- Inappropriate “Fixes.” Like #2 above. There are solutions and there are band aids – the differences aren’t obvious… until they are.
- Flawed Software. Isn’t it redundant to put “flawed” in front of software? It is a best practice for software vendors to publish unfinished software. Sometimes their “patches” are more trouble than the holes.
- Hardware Degradation. There are physical parts to all this stuff. Physical stuff can wear down or break.
- Component Incompatibility. Sometimes the pieces just don’t like each other much. They can sort of get along, but conflict flares up from time to time.
- Malicious External Threats. There is a TON more of this than most people realize. This is less the teenager in his basement being mischievous and more automated crime.
- Mischievous Gremlins. Okay, probably not actual gremlins, but it seemed more interesting than just putting “etc” at the end of the list.
So there are potentially a whole bunch of other things happening, but the point is, the technology you use is extremely complex and hyper-dynamic. None of it stands a chance at working like new indefinitely; Technology Volatility is real. As much as you’d like your backup system to work forever or your server to stay running perfectly forever, if technology is left untouched it will break down. You knew that, but had you really thought through why?
Of course, technology doesn’t need to be left untouched and susceptible to the evils of Technology Volatility! Instead of just putting out the fires that erupt from Technology Volatility, Smart businesses invest in proactive service that undoes the Technology Volatility. Smart Dolphins has a pretty slick system for kicking Technology Volatility’s butt. I’d love to tell you about it.