In our previous post on technology friction, I talked about some common places to look for friction in your organization. I want to dive a little deeper and identify the costs associated with various sources of friction. More specifically, I want to identify the top 3 most costly points of technology friction. Once identified, my bet is that you can stop these sources of money leakage from your organization with relatively little effort.
1. Hard Costs – this is where technology friction directly results in you spending a dollar (or more likely many dollars). The best example of this type of friction is recurring issues. If you have a relationship with an outside technology vendor that charges by the hour, it is reasonable to expect that you’ll have to pay them when something breaks. What about the 3rd, 4th, 5th time it breaks, and you get an hourly bill each time for fixing the same thing? The friction here is that the root cause of the issue is obviously not being addressed – instead all that is happening is treatment of symptoms. Determine and address the root cause, and stop paying for this friction once and for all.
2. Opportunity Costs – the best way to measure the opportunity cost of friction is in time. If your employees/office manager/whoever is spending time ‘fighting’ with the technology (trying to eliminate friction) what are they NOT doing that could benefit your business? Is the launch of your new marketing program delayed again? Financials are a week late again? Customer service is falling because you aren’t serving customers quickly enough? These could all be because your team is spending time fighting technology friction rather than what you hired them for. Take technology off their plate and let them focus instead on whatever the highest and best use of THEIR individual time is based on skill set.
3. Morale Costs – we’ve all (yes even those of us that do this for a living) had those days where we feel like we’ve spent the day battling the technology and the technology won. You just couldn’t accomplish what you needed or wanted to because you couldn’t get the technology working the way you wanted (in other words you couldn’t get past the friction of technology). The question is at what point do you say to yourself that it just isn’t worth it anymore? Employees are usually willing to endure short term hardship for the greater good of the team. But if as a team they don’t see you making changes to address their frustration with technology friction they may just move on to someplace where they don’t have that stress in their lives. The extremely high costs of employee turnover are well documented. Add that to the lower production and generally downbeat attitude of those employees that decide to stay and stick it out, and the dollars from this type of friction cost add up quickly. Make the effort to put together a plan to eliminate technology friction in your organization. In the VAST majority of cases, we find it is often just a matter of restructuring what you already have in place rather than buying a bunch of new stuff.
Commit to yourself, your business, and your employees to focus on these three areas in the next quarter and see how much progress you can make in that short time. You’ll be surprised if you do it right. Stop the leakage!