We make technology so much harder than it has to be

by Ron on November 24, 2013

Nothing’s wrong as far as I can see
We make it harder than it has to be
and I can’t tell you why
~Eagles, I can’t tell you why

Woman shop owner standing in front of computer or register.That song came to mind the other day when I was attending the one-day IBM Cloud Computing Forum at The Science House in New York City. We spent the day in this amazing venue talking about advanced technologies having to do with the cloud and big data. And as the conversation inevitably gravitated deep into the technical weeds, it occurred to me that we make technology way more complex than we need to –especially for SMBs.

Those small to medium size business, especially the Ss have very different requirements from large ones and we tend to forget that. Large businesses have the budget, staff and need to go complex, but SMBs? Typically they just want something that works.

As we were discussing Big Data, Laurie McCabe, who is a partner at SMB Group, a company that does research, analysis and consulting focusing on SMBs, cautioned the group of attendees that we were much more technically savvy than the average SMB business owner.

She pointed out that if we walked out on the street and asked people about what we were discussing at the forum, most would probably have no clue.

Think of an SMB –they may be a small tech start-up, but they could just as easily be a Real Estate Office, a dry cleaner or a Chinese restaurant. They have specific problems and they just want quick, low-cost solutions for their business issues.

That dry cleaner needs a bookkeeping service. The real estate broker needs to share all of the documents involved in a legal process of buying a house and the Chinese restaurant probably wants to simplify payroll and procurement.

Whatever it is, they don’t care about the cloud and big data or the technology behind it. They just want solutions. They don’t need to know the underlying technology to get that it’s cheaper or faster or better. For instance, when it comes to big data, the discussion last week drifted to the quality of the data and crunching the data and getting deep into the technical requirements of  data scientists to understand the data.

But it honestly doesn’t have to be that complicated. Every company has questions. If you think of Big Data sources as having answers to those questions, if you can figure out how to ask and get answers to your issues, you can take advantage of big data. It doesn’t have to be all about this complexity.

One of the great benefits of cloud computing and mobile is that it has taken the idea of procurement out of the hands of the most technical people, usually IT pros and put it in reach of the just about anyone.

That has simplified the way we interact with technology, and given those SMBs (and everyone else) the freedom to concentrate on running their businesses and solving their business problems themselves. Of course, there will be times where you reach a point where you need help whether from a consultant, a channel partner or by hiring a technology expert to run that aspect of your business, but isn’t it good to know that you don’t always have to because today, it’s just not that complicated, and we who are immersed in this sometimes forget that.

It really doesn’t have to be as complicated as we tend to make it. Let’s not overanalyze the cloud, mobile, social and big data. Let’s just find the tools to make it easier to run our businesses. And that’s really what it’s all about. All that other stuff makes good discussion fodder, but doesn’t really matter to the business owner just trying to find ways to get things done.

Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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