8 Common Myths Of New Technology

New technology is often surrounded by hype and misperceptions that make it harder for us to use effortlessly. I know this from experience. I’ve spent the better part of 2011 helping our business team implement a new Web content management system. The entire process has been so long and drawn out it has tested my patience and mettle, but the vast majority of it has been rewarding. Ultimately, we hope to provide you with richer, more relevant content on our Web sites, while at the same time improve our editorial workflow.

As we approached the finish line on the project, I started to reflect on the unexpected challenges we encountered with the new technology. In fact, I’ve learned some things that were completely contrary to what I had always thought regarding a system upgrade of this magnitude. I’ve listed the top eight misconceptions in this column for your benefit. Hopefully, you can learn from it when adopting new technology in your business.

Myth No. 1: Cutting edge technology is unproven. When technology is so new, cutting edge implies that not many companies would have bought and used it. In this case, the burden of proof rests on both the vendor AND the customer. The vendor will attempt to back up its claim about its new technology by describing it in as narrow a scope as possible to avoid extra liability, while at the same time aggressively promising benefits to lure the customer. This means that most of the burden of proof needs to lie with the customer. I believe this is where many companies fail. Often, they do not have clear specifications of the intended use. And sometimes they do not even agree among themselves what the intended use is supposed to be.

Myth No. 2: Everything is intuitively obvious. “It’s so easy, anyone can do it.” This is one of my favorite techno-myths of all. New technology is almost never “intuitively obvious.” The fact that new technology will involve learning new concepts and possibly a new way of thinking about something is in direct opposition to “intuitively obvious.” More likely, this just means the vendor has a clear idea of how he or she thinks the product will be used. Even the slightest ambiguity about the new technology may cause considerable confusion, and thus warrants a clear explanation.

Myth No. 3: New technology will work seamlessly with older technology. No matter what the new technology, it won’t always work as predicted. Early in our implementation, we were under the false assumption that our new content management system would integrate with our existing circulation database. That has not been the case, and while not a deal breaker in itself, it definitely contributed to some limitations we weren’t expecting with the technology.

Myth No. 4: New tools will help improve productivity significantly. Most new technology will give you some increase in productivity. Timesaving is certainly a desirable effect of new technology, but expectations should be tempered. A technology that bills itself as being a major time-saver may deliver far less than it promises. To realize improvements in productivity via new technology may require you to perform old functions in new ways, perform some new or additional functions, and eliminate others.

Myth No. 5: I only need one good tech guy. Ideally, at least one IT person and/or programmer is assigned to the new technology. But that’s not enough. Companies should form a project team, the group responsible for designing, testing, and implementing the system. End users must be involved early on and throughout the project. The technology won’t be successful if all constituents don’t understand how to use it, the solution doesn’t meet their needs, or the proposed training is inadequate. And if that dedicated tech person gets hit by the proverbial bus (e.g., leaves the company), at least the team is not left without any knowledge of the project whatsoever.

Myth No. 6: Technology is just too big and complicated. Yes, it sure is. And, so is your car. So, you take it to an automobile expert who gives you simple advice on how to make it run more smoothly. Problem solved. Again, between our dedicated tech guy and the support of the vendor, we had enough technical expertise to move forward — little by little — on the project. Some companies have the in-house staff required to implement a new product or system with little outside help. Most companies, however, do not have the luxury of these dedicated resources, and even those that do must still partner with the right vendor when purchasing the technology.

Myth No. 7: I don’t know if it’s worth the money. You should be concerned with how you invest your money. Big bang technology solutions that promise huge rewards are usually not real technology solutions. That’s why you need to focus on measurable success. The right technology solutions — like precision ag software, customer databases or online applications — should provide significant results and quickly pay for themselves.

Myth No. 8: Looming deadlines necessitate shortcuts. With unexpected delays in our technology implementation, I am sure many of us were tempted to take shortcuts just so we could complete the project on time. Taking a “let’s just be done with it” approach would have been the easy way out, but would have jeopardized the long-term viability of the technology. Stay the course — adjusting timelines as necessary — and the technology will be well worth the investment.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
AGCO Go-Task App
Matt Hopkins10 Must-Have Agriculture Apps That Will Make You More Efficient In 2016
December 15, 2015
I guess this mobile app frenzy isn’t a short-lived fad after all. Consider in 2010 there was a “meager” 300,000 Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
Latest News
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionEnhancing In-Season Nitrogen Use Efficiency Is In The D…
May 5, 2016
Spring is here and crops are in the ground. Do you have a plan for your nitrogen during the growing Read More
ID3 Air Induction Flat Spray Nozzle | Lechler
Nozzles2016 Nozzles And Tips Report: Waste Watchers
May 5, 2016
Every year in the spring, ag retailers and their grower-customers prepare for the coming crop season. This involves prepping crop Read More
Industry NewsHELM AGRO Adds New Marketing & Business Development…
May 4, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the hiring of Troy Bettner as the company’s new Marketing & Business Development Leader. Bettner Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncont…
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Spray Drift
HerbicidesRoundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For…
May 4, 2016
Since 2014, Monsanto has trained more than 20,000 growers and retailers on all aspects of its new dicamba-tolerant system at Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Board Appoints New CEO
May 4, 2016
Syngenta announced today the appointment of J. Erik Fyrwald, currently President and CEO of the U.S. chemistry distribution company Univar Read More
Crop InputsIntrexon Establishes Crop Protection Enterprise
May 4, 2016
Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has announced the formation of Intrexon Crop Protection (ICP), a wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More