"The technology as usual gets the blame!"
Interesting points, Ian.
Interesting that you picked up upon the issues of regulation for technology within this industry - care to start a topic?
Technology has always been a double edged sword; it takes time to find a good balance between new and traditional ways of doing things. One of the problems as I see it are that in a lot of cases middle-management (yes, them again ;-) adopt the concept of new technologies without really thinking through the implications and suitability of that technology. As Yourdon put it, a 'silver bullet'. Quite often, technological advance is less of a better way of doing things than a different way. Over time, business adjusts, but behind every shiny centralised computer system there always lies a mountain of paperwork and people always forget that technology can rarely cure bad business practise.
You mention synergy and it's a good word. The 'whole' being greater than the sum of the parts. A goal to strive for, yes, but the fact is that systems are difficult to really pin down precisely - the workplace is a very dynamic and malleable environment, and technology can only ever really address a part of the whole. There needs to be training to develop understanding, monitoring to oversee not just the individuals' progress with the technology, but also the technology's suitability within the context of the workplace. A good analogy is that of footpaths. People will take the path that suits them best, regardless of what is deemed to be the best path to suit them. That's why I see so many patches of grass worn down through common use, despite footpaths nearby - people want to walk where they want to walk and to hell with some anonymous entity dictating their actions...
To paraphrase DND, we need to consider the individual's own personal priorities, goals, likes and dislikes - technology may on paper solve some problems but it needs to be adopted, owned, relished even, by those who will use it.
Having said that, and with a touch of the Devil's Advocate about me, I have to add that, used intelligently, technology can be a powerful tool, but should never replace the human element. It's not all about efficiency, you know...
Ian also wrote:
"I think that considered strategies with regard to call centre solutions are rare within the
U.K. Perhaps it's because middle management in general has enough trouble managing their e-mails?"
Good post, by the way, I enjoyed it lots!