Technology and the speed of business

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For the better part of my life, I have heard how technology is going to make our lives better, easier and more efficient. And one would think that with the highly evolved state of computers and the Internet, this would be the case.

And it often is. You can get instant access to millions of products, music, movies, books, news and just about any other form of content you could imagine. The other night, my wife and I drove through the Italian city of Reggio Calabria, looking in store windows, admiring the architecture, and occasionally making a wrong turn and ending up in a somewhat less than savory looking neighborhood. We were hopelessly lost the entire time but it was great fun. And it all happened right there on our living room sofa, courtesy of Google.

But there are times when it seems like either this is all an illusion or maybe that some people just don't get it. The other day I was asked to fax a document. Fax? Who faxes anymore? When I suggested that I unleash the power of my computer and generate a PDF that could be emailed, I was told that, no, it had to be a fax. And then a bit later, someone told me that a payment I was expecting was waiting on a copy of the invoice to arrive via FedEx. FedEx? How quaint! Haven't these guys heard about direct deposit?

Sometimes, I get the feeling that technology is being used as a scapegoat. How many times do you hear that something could not happen because "the computer was down." So instead of these technologies speeding things up, they often end up slowing things down. Or at least, they are providing newer and better excuses.

D.D.

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