Technology philosophy #1 – More effective, not just more efficient

Last month in Dallas I had the opportunity to speak at the AMC Institute on Technology Issues Facing Association Management Companies. As part of the presentation, I offered my philosophy on technology, which I’ll share with you over the course of these next seven blog posts

#1: Technology should make us more effective not just more efficient

One thing that technology can be very useful for is making us more efficient. In this instance, efficiency means using technology will allow us to complete a task in a shorter amount of time than without technology. For example, using the telephone to call my neighbor is more efficient than walking over and talking to him.

But efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing. And we have to be careful about ensuring the technology we’re applying is actually making us more effective, not just more efficient. As one of my esteemed colleagues is fond of saying, if we have a process that produces crap, and we apply technology to it to make it more efficient, all we are doing is creating crap more quickly.

So before you spend a lot of time implementing new technology to make you more efficient, make sure the technology is also going to make you more effective. And often effectiveness is not about the technology, but rather about our business processes. Does what we’re doing make sense? Does it help the customer? Does it advance our organization’s mission? And if the answer is yes, then will the application of technology make us more effective doing those things?

These are the questions we have to ask when it comes to new technology.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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