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I’m going to make an educated guess that you hate at least some of the technology that you use for work.
Let me explain why and how this is Big ticket merger of two companies You may never have heard of your anger. Bottom line: The most important quality of technology for business is whether a boss can be convinced to buy it, not whether you like it. It’s bleak but true.
Let me take you back to when technology was mostly used by businesses, not the rest of us. Then technologies lived or died based on whether a guy in a suit and tie could be convinced that it was worth buying for his business.
An automaker bought software to track all of the parts for its cars. An insurance company bought software to issue invoices to customers. Once an email is received, your employer may have bought accounts for everyone. Probably no one has asked the people who use this technology whether it is useful and good. Above all, it was important whether the employer considered himself worthwhile.
That has changed – but only somehow.
One of the great ideas of technology over the past decade – a great idea that is only partially true – is that workers now have control over the technology we use.
Software coders can use Airtable to manage a project without telling their managers. A financial advisor may choose to exchange documents with customers through DocuSign. Some coworkers might choose to use Zoom Video for team meetings or Slack for instant messaging, and may later convince their employer to pay for more feature-packed versions.
If the workers, not the bosses, choose the technology, it is important that the technology is easy to use. These newer workplace technologies usually do not stink or stink less than older ones.
But. This ideal of the empowered worker is not exactly correct. I suspect your supervisors didn’t ask if you liked the corporate spend or accounting software you used. Restaurant chefs are unlikely to have a say in the order entry systems they use, and healthcare workers typically don’t choose the software that measures their hours or keeps patient records.
Technology may have changed, but one thing that has always stood the test is that whether a suit and tie boss believes the technology is useful or easy to buy still really matters. (He’s probably still a guy.)
This is one of the main reasons Salesforce, a company that sells tens of millions of types of software, mostly bought by managers. has agreed to pay $ 27.7 billion to buy Slack, one of the young companies that relied on the empowered worker half-truth. Giants like Salesforce can more easily sell software to suit and tie types, especially the largest companies that spend the most on technology.
In a way, this is a bummer. Slack, DocuSign, Airtable, and other young companies can make nice software that you like, but someone in a company generally still pays for it. For Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Workday or any other enterprise software supermarket, it’s easier to sell employers with a collection of technologies that Maybe they go well together or are cheaper to buy in a bundle.
Slack was partially sold out because it was felt that Microsoft couldn’t stand up for similar workstation software contained in a surprise bag of technology that many companies are already buying. (M.Your colleague David Streitfeld wrote about Salesforce in direct contact with Microsoft.)
Supermarkets like Microsoft and Salesforce can and sometimes make nice software, but employers’ priorities often conflict with developing technology that is easy to use.
A lot has changed in the technologies we encounter at work. But the person who writes the checks is still the most important customer, and that probably means you’ll hate the software you use at work.
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Before we go …
A broomstick is not a weapon: My colleague Davey Alba wrote about a New York school district in February that was becoming one of the first companies in the country to use facial recognition technology. The aim was to detect unwanted visitors, prevent mass shootings and stop sexual predators. In a follow up to Vice News wrote that the company behind the facial recognition software did not have advance notice of the technology used to misidentify black students. It also made serious mistakes at times, including identifying broomsticks as weapons.
The demanding mobile life of app employees: NPR followed couriers in Beijing Working 12 hour days to deliver packages for China’s e-commerce delivery services. Each of their movements is tracked via the app and they live in fear of a mistake or a bad customer review that would lower their pay. My colleague Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura wrote about that too Worker challenges for restaurant delivery apps in New York.
A warning to vacation buyers: The Wall Street Journal reported that UPS has instructed delivery couriers not to pick up some recent online shopping orders from a handful of large US retailers like Macy’s, suggesting delivery companies are having a hard time managing our online holiday shopping craze. I wrote a newsletter in October about these feared delays. called “shipaggedon”, and how buyers could navigate them.
I can recommend burnt sienna crayon for the pancreas? A New York hospital has created an anatomy coloring and activity book for children.