Watching all the changes in IT over the past 35 years, I am amazed at where we came from.  Not to date myself, but when I first started working, communication was only a land-line phone and cable television service with maybe 40 channels.  We were amazed at when we installed our first fax machine and was handed our first beeper.  Most of today’s college student probably have never seen either. 

We often thought, if I need a document sent to me from a client so that I can see what they were seeing, I could have it mailed and I would get it in 2 to 3 days.  With the fax machine, I could see it within minutes.  They would print it out, load it into a machine and send it to my fax machine and I could see what they see.  And with the beeper, while I was on the road, if someone needed me, they could send a phone number to a small box that beeped and I could pull over to a pay phone and call the person back.  As we thought to ourselves – Wow – what technology we have discovered. Just think what would have happened if technology stopped there and never went further.  We might not have invented Email, Zoom, Remote Desktop and Cell Phones.  Where would we be as a society only having ‘primitive’ tools such as the fax and beeper.

This theory of never stopping progress translates to ourselves.  It is important as human beings that we continue to improve just like it was important to improve our technology.  As these new devices are developed and new software is created to do more and more in terms of functionality, we need to continue to learn about them and keep ourselves current in their usage.  In the IT world, this is a never ending battle to stay current or get left behind.  Software vendors are improving their software with many offering 1 to 2 releases per year and each release has more and more features to their base product.  With all of these updates, it becomes important for a software consultant to review the changes and study their effects on processing.  Many software manufacturers now require their resellers to be certified in their product offering to ensure proper deployments.  Customers of the software want their solution providers to be fully knowledgeable of the products they are deploying so that they can give the best practice usage of their software for their environments.  Technicians want to keep up to date with the product offering as it makes them more valuable to their employers and to their customers as they bring higher value to their engagements.

The issue becomes how to keep up with all the new functionality being added and at the same time continue servicing the customers that need our visits.  Everyone will agree knowledge is important and timing is everything.  Employees will need to be taken out of service while they explore and get certified on the new software and customers will need to wait longer to see those employees.  Some of the features may be security based and if we don’t keep up with our security protocols, our systems are prone to hacking and intrusion that could cause irreparable damage to the customers we serve.  Hands down, training and re-training must occur.  The most important part is that we need to stay up to date with the new features for the betterment of ourselves, our customers and our employers.  

Without a doubt, software and technology are going to continue to improve and get more robust.  As important cogs in the wheel of keeping our customers processing, we need to keep ourselves current with the new technology and software.  The value we add to ourselves through continued learning is an investment in our future just as the time we take away from our daily routines is an investment our employers make to ensure our engagements with the customers are more valuable.  It is a cycle that needs to occur in order for all parties to grow just like when we moved from the land-line to the beeper to email to the cell phone to texting.  This continued growth requires everyone to invest in the future.