Complacency will hold you back in your personal life and your professional career and complacency will also hold you back in your tools and technology.  Complacency in your technology tools will hold you back just as surely as surely as it will in your personal life or professional career.  I define complacency in your tools and technology as lack of maintaining the current versions and not exploring features and functions to support your changing requirements and objectives.  This complacency in your current tools utilization can also lead to additional and unnecessary spending when you assume that your current tools won’t support your expanded needs.  This is a kind of variation on the ‘shiny object’ syndrome.

I think everyone has heard of the ‘shiny object’ syndrome but just in case let me recap.  This describes the tendency of some people to shift attention continuously to the next new thing (shiny object).  How does complacency in your current tools influenced by the ‘shiny object’ syndrome?   Complacency in your current tools leads you to believe that your current tools will not support your new and changing needs because you currently don’t use the features.  I personally find this surprising because I have found for the most part that tools include more features and functions than you would want or need to use.  So the idea that you ‘need’ a new tool because of some advertising claim or trade magazine article is frankly rather hard for me to swallow.

The challenge for any organization, or person for that matter, as it relates to the tools you use to support your everyday activities and efficiecies, is to institute a process to review and evaluate those tools, or more simply put, you must institute a tool evaluation process.  This process should include the honest evaluation of the new requirements along with the value delivered by the new requirements.  The process must continue through the honest evaluation and comparison of your current tools against the new tools.  This evaluation must also take into account not only the value provided by the requirements, it must also take into account the cost of implementing a new tool. 

This cost of implementation must include training and any conversion requirements into the comparison equation.  I have found that the total cost of implementation is one of the key challenges to overcome with any tool replacement.  In fact, I think the cost of tool replacement or upgrade is probably the single greatest hurdle to the successful replacement.  I think that a key factor that many organizations overlook is the training.  After all if you are upgrading a tool that you already are using you do not require training, right?  I think this is the wrong way to look at the upgrade.  You must look at an upgrade as a means to achieve greater value and not simply as a requirement to maintain support.  In order to achieve the value you must include training to help your organization take advantage of the new capabilities.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you view tool upgrade initiatives?  Do you view it as a means to maintain support from the vendor or do you encourage people to take advantage the new capabilities?