Technology philosophy #2 – Just because you CAN automate it doesn’t mean you should

Because I’m a tremendous geek and love software, I’m always open to exploring new software programs that may somehow make my life easier. Over the course of nearly 25 years, I’ve probably tested more than four dozen different “task managers.” You know what I’m talking about: these simple programs that allow you to track your “to-do” list and check things off as you do them.

In theory, these programs sound great to me. I’m at my keyboard all the time, so why not have a little program that allows me to quickly jot down to-dos as I think of them. And then I have my to-do list, which I can work off of, and check-off as I complete them. Makes sense, right?

Yet for some reason, I’ve never been able to get these programs to really work for me. No matter how I try, I always wind up back at paper. And in the end, there’s nothing wrong with that. If paper works better, so be it.

As much as I LOVE technology, sometimes technology solutions are NOT better than the manual processes we’re using. And this is true for all of our processes, especially as they relate to data management. Sure, automate things that will really scale up and save lots of staff time. But if you’ve got a process that is automated for 2,000 transactions, and 20 of those transactions won’t work in the automated process, then manage those 20 manually. Don’t pull your hair out trying to automate it all.

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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