Today, few users of computing devices can tell you why a quad-core processor is better than a dual-core processor, or what going from dual to quad can offer you. Fewer still understand why the freshly introduced HTML Version 5 is going to revolutionize the internet, and what it will bring to the web experience.
I’ve spent enough time on the online forums to try to avoid the harsh rhetoric of the “fanboys” and “trolls.” I haven’t insinuated that tech today is being marketed to the 12-15 year old demographic, or that the marketing departments of most tech firms seem to be populated by people who know very little about presenting facts, and a lot about hosting parties to celebrate whatever new thing has come along.
I will quietly note that there is an adjustment coming, as the companies who comprise the business markets and pay for most of the new technology begin to demand more substance in what they buy. As people begin to realize that Google may not be worth $600 per share, and that FaceBook is not the sum total of our lives.
It has happened before. It will happen again. But in the meantime, companies still need to adopt effective technologies that enhance their corporate missions.
This means that accounting firms must, both for themselves and for the clients they serve, develop better procedures for the introduction of new technologies. You can’t believe the marketing hype. You can’t leave the decisions to individuals, not even to executives who are fairly tech-savvy. In a day when technology is sold on cable TV shopping networks, we have to fight a little harder to get the right technology for the job.
This means that someone within the firm must be designated to evaluate new technologies. Someone must be tasked with creating a list of technical capabilities the company needs but does not presently have. As new technologies emerge, this is the list that is checked against the features of each new technology. If there is a match, the new technology is adopted.
And the function must go beyond just list-matching, to accommodate emerging technologies that haven’t fit any list in the past but which rapidly become indispensable. Actually, smart phones fall into this category. So do the new information eyeglasses being developed by Google. And the ability to control a computing or mechanical device by thoughts alone.
The era of bling and hype has ushered in a new reality for technology companies, in which they pay for the status of being mainstream consumer products by sacrificing facts and features for pretty colors. But that doesn’t mean that accounting firms have to participate in that process, or that they are not capable of sorting through the bluster to find the right technologies at the right price for what they and their clients need.
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A compendium of ideas, products, rants and raves from the viewpoint of the author. Not that the author has no financial interests in any of the products mentioned. Feel free to disagree, or to share your ideas by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internet Site of the Month. The 10 Most Idiotic iPhone Apps (www.pcworld.com/article/170157/the_10_most_idiotic_iphone_apps.html). Bless PC World for saving me the trouble of compiling this list. I can quibble about whether there are other apps that are even more idiotic, but this is a good starting point.
– Tablet PC Comparison (www.tabletpccomparison.net). Now that tax season is behind us, you may be looking for a tablet PC to acquire. The first stop should be this site, with loads of information, updated often.
– “Free” cloud services. In the rush to the cloud, new services are popping up almost everywhere that offer “free” file storage and backup space on their servers. That’s nice of them, but as economist Milton Friedman often noted, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Hosting and maintaining servers costs money. And if you can’t determine where your cloud service is making their money, chances are good you don’t want your data there.
– Cyber Security Legislation. New legislation would give the government sweeping new powers over the Internet in the US. Privacy advocates are alarmed. Tech companies like the draft proposal, because if gives them protection from lawsuits. But the real question is whether this legislation – currently is four different versions -- can get any traction in an election year.