Distracted by the Tools: When Tools Interfere with IT Effectiveness
Do you ever feel as though you're spending too much time investigating new software and hardware tools, rather than actually getting the job done?
"Tool blindness" can happen to anyone, followed quickly by both indecision and fatigue. You may find yourself jumping between a multitude of different tools, each very similar in some ways but different in others. You may also find yourself just wanting to make a decision so that the decision has been made. But to improve your IT effectiveness, you need to find the tool that will get the job done– and you need to do it quickly.
The Palm-of-Your-Hand Strategy
Often, tool blindness occurs because you begin trying to compare disparate elements of a tool. This tool can do A, B, and C well– but this other tool has D, and this other tool has E. The question, however, is about what you need. Determine the top five attributes of a software solution your company actually needs. Look for tools that fit those needs better than the others. Tons of tools have an extra-special feature, but not all of these features are actually useful to every business.
Know Exactly What You Need
As an addition to the above, you also need to know exactly what you need. What are you looking for a tool to do? You aren't going to get a screwdriver to drive in nails, even if a nail and a screw have similar purposes. Knowing exactly what you need stops you from becoming side-tracked or choosing unnecessary tools. Want to drive in a nail or two? You want a hammer, not a nail gun. The same goes for software and hardware; it's very easy to go overboard or to experience feature-creep, ending with a tool that does far more than you really needed.
Being Skeptical About Your Tools
Of course, there's a major way a software solution is different from a physical tool: physical tools are generally put through a rigorous testing process before being sold in a hardware store, while software solutions can come from absolutely anywhere. You need to be very skeptical about where you source your tools.
There are literally thousands of bespoke software services today claiming to be the solution your business needs to increase IT effectiveness– and many of these software services are one-man teams that can offer little to no support. Doing your due diligence extends not only to the software solution but also to the company that is providing it.
Have Everything You Need Before You Begin
Have you ever seen a contractor arrive on-site and then go back to get his tool belt? Not likely; a contractor that scatter-brained would probably be fired. Likewise, you should know exactly what tools you need before you get started. Going back and getting more tools as you progress will not only slow you down, it will also increase your overall expenses.
For instance, you could save money purchasing a multi-tool rather than buying each tool individually. Something that seems excessive may actually be something necessary, depending on what you are going to need in the future.
Tools can be neat, new, and exciting, but the most important factor is they need to actually get the job done. Don’t lose sight of the end goal when you run down an assortment of hardware and software solutions. IT effectiveness is all about ensuring you get to the end through the simplest and most direct path.