Broken Promises: Technology Solutions that Fall Short on Delivering to The Small Business

If you ever wonder how much technology to integrate into your business that promises greater efficiency, more productivity or that you’ll make/save more money, Gene Marks, has succinctly pointed out some candid truths about what works and what doesn’t in his article that appeared in Business Week, “Tech ‘Solutions’ Your Small Biz Can’t Use.”

Gene states that many of the software or web solutions that claim to help drive the growth of your company are simply not suited for a small business environment.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“My life as a small business owner has been littered with stuff that doesn’t work as billed, particularly technology. We business owners are subjected to an endless array of tools that never fail to disappoint. We’re promised. We pay. And we’re let down. The list of overhyped and underwhelming technology changes constantly. So here’s a quick snapshot of 10, in no particular order, that don’t work. At least this week.

1. RSS Feeds

Bob, an electrical contractor, knows what RSS stands for, and I feel sorry for him. He had the misfortune of signing up for an RSS feed. This misnomer is designed to make us feel like we’re getting a “feed” of data just like all the really, really important media people do. When he first tried RSS, he thought, “Wow, I can get immediate updates on product and industry developments, important news from Yahoo! (YHOO), and even get a new joke from The Onion, all as soon as they’re published!” Instead, he was “fed” an endless stream of meaningless items displayed in an overly large browser window that winds up distracting more than informing. Like Bob, most of the business owners I know have abandoned RSS and gone back to controlling when they get their information. Still don’t know what RSS stands for? Trust me, it’s just not that important.

2. Spam Filters

I get this question at just about every presentation I give to business owners: “What spam filters do you recommend?” My answer: “None.” They all suck. Let’s face it: You’re not going to eliminate spam in your business. Instead you’re going to waste money on the latest filtering technology, which does nothing more than block that key e-mail you were awaiting from a prospective customer. Or you’ll require a sender to complete a Sudoku puzzle before “allowing” their e-mail to reach your in-box. In the end, it’s cheaper for your employees to just sort and delete spam as it comes in.

3. Antivirus Software

Betsy was looking for just the right technology to slow down her employees’ computers and significantly degrade the performance of her business applications. Well, she found it, and it’s called antivirus software. As an added bonus, this software prevents her from installing or upgrading applications without a team of NASA-trained IT consultants. Betsy’s spent more money with her IT firm trying to work around antivirus software than she probably would’ve spent if she received an actual virus. What should a business owner do to avoid viruses, worms, and other evil applications that can wreak havoc in our systems? Our tools are still too limited. Even telling your employees, for the 900th time, not to open up suspicious files doesn’t seem to work. I don’t have a very good answer for Betsy’s dilemma. But I do know the current group of antivirus software applications don’t do the job for small businesses.

4. Blogs

Jamie! You started a blog for your business? That’s dope! Now go out and get some accessories, like a pair of black-rimmed rectangular glasses and a Starbucks card. And oh, by the way, you’ll need to set aside about 17 hours each day to keep it fresh. Dude, it’ll be so viral. What’s that, Jamie? You’re not in the media business? You don’t work for a software company? You just own a hardware store? Dude, that’s a drag! If you don’t have something new to say each day, no one’s going to bother to stop by and check out your blog. It’ll be, like, so lame.

You can read the full article here.