Technology is everywhere in the workplace today, but one of the biggest problems for many companies is integrating the various systems they have. If you have a favorite performance management system and want that to feed into your company’s learning management system so you aren’t duplicating entries and potentially messing up data, good luck. That’s a big reason why so many organizations go with suite providers (companies that offer multiple modules–performance, compensation, learning, talent acquisition, etc.) I had the thought recently just how absurd this would be in the real world, and that was the foundation for this post.
A human example of technology incompatibility
There are ten people sitting in a room working furiously. Nobody speaks to each other.
When a business problem arises, each person has a different solution, because each only has a piece of the overall story.
Oh, and each person has a different method/preference for interacting.
- Bob only accepts conversations in batches between 2:00 and 3:00am on weekends so as not to interrupt other activities.
- Anything you say to Mary will immediately overwrite what others have said to her on the same topic.
- Charles only speaks a rare language that requires a $150/hr interpreter to translate.
- 30% of what you tell Floyd is immediately forgotten and requires you to re-tell him again.
- When you ask Carrie to look something up it takes her half an hour and what she finds is completely irrelevant.
- Nobody ever interacts with Jamie and nobody is sure why he is there, but then again nobody has ever dared to ask.
There are consultants for hire whose sole job is to attempt to help each system to talk with one another. It takes forever and costs a lot of money, and even when it works you’re mostly disappointed.
See how crazy this analogy is? We wouldn’t let this happen with people in the workplace, but with technology this is unfortunately an all-too-common story. We have all of these amazing technologies that help us to do things in more efficient ways than ever before, but the whole integration thing is holding us back.
I’d love to hear from some of you that have different technologies in the workplace that need to “talk” with each other. How were you able to solve the problem? Or do you just work around the issue instead of addressing it, because it is easier in the short term?