Why your company cannot afford to ignore disposable technologies!

by Abhishek Shodhan 

“But… why would I dispose of my technology investment”? That’s the first question I get asked as soon as I use the term “disposable technology”. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean use-once-and-dispose type technology solutions (usually). The term has much more meaning, and comparing with a disposable eating container will not do it justice.

Enterprise technology adoption comes with a set of challenges. It starts with an idea – “Wow, this can really save time for me, I wish my company already used it! Wait, what if I initiate this with management?” And there the process starts. If your company is like most others, risk mitigation & reduction of failure rates trumps purchase decision making factors, followed closely by tangible Return on Investment (RoI). “Will we be able to eliminate all paper & save on stationery costs?”.

After all, the company’s bottom lines are directly impacted with each Dollar/Euro/Rupee spent. Adoption of technology is a process, that typically flows like this:

  1. Idea & intent
  2. Approval for the spend
  3. Evaluation of options, including existing software being used at the company
  4. Pros & con analysis of available options – best to worst
  5. IT approval
  6. Departmental approvals – if others are to use it
  7. Budgetary analysis
  8. Negotiation (rounds, usually)
  9. Purchase
  10. Implementation, training & use

This is not always the in the same order, neither is this an exhaustive list (yes, I did not mention corporate politics on purpose, to keep the list clean). The process involves a minimum of 5 people (it is sometimes a multiple of this number, too). And it takes time. So. Much. Time.

Consider a different approach. The user has an idea – “Wow, I just read about Robotic Process Automation & I’d love to have a system that can automate this manual process we keep making mistakes with!” User logs into a Cloud-based system, and in 45 minutes, has a productive, running system. He then gathers his team members for a quick 20-minute training on the process & sends out invitations. The team is ready with a Web & Mobile application to automate their work. No 10-step process. Not dealing with IT.

Sounds too good to be true? The good news is, that it’s not. The user spent 45 minutes on a process that can be used once or repeatedly over a period of time. If it is used just once, well, that is the case for disposable technology. Consider these use cases:

  1. Surveys
  2. One-time information retrieval
  3. Spreadsheets for one-time calculation
  4. Spreadsheets for anything, really…

The go-to tool for disposable technology is Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or some other spreadsheet software. Ad-hoc sheets, templates are made, shared & used for a task or two. Then they end up in the digital garbage pile – archived emails or data backups. To only be created again the next time the task needs to be done!

There are better & more structured ways to do this.

Take one use case of a client… Their company required their 900+ strong workforce to:

  1. fill out a form
  2. validate the data
  3. run an offline process (on a Government website)
  4. mark the process as done.

What options did they have? The usual suspects came up – Excel, eMail, paper forms. But, would any of these be efficient? Allow for validation? Provide process tracking & completion reporting? What if one or a few forms are missed?

Luckily for them, we were demonstrating kriya to them. All users were sent a link with a form that they filled out & the process was tracked from there on to completion. In 2 days. And, they haven’t used the process again. Yet – it will come into play again at the end of the financial year. And this year, the company will also gain the additional benefit of the 2-day effort!

Disposable technology – 1. Traditional Software – 0.

Take a second use case. A client was looking to procure an ERP system, integrated with a CRM. They were evaluating vendors, and we were helping them. Like with any ERP/CRM implementation, they are looking at a minimum of 6 months to 1 year before their sales, inventory, accounting & financial compliance processes are mapped to a system & can become productive.

What would they do about all the leads & inquiries they receive from now until then? kriya came to the rescue – again. We were able to map their entire lead-to-order process within kriya – enabling their users to capture & process leads on web & mobile. They were productive in a matter of days. And that was due to the iterative approach to the implementation.

This was planned as a disposable solution. The team preferred the flexibility & agility of the solution and urged management to not replace it. kriya now continues to host the process & other ‘disposable’ applications, for example, their procurement process. And feeds data to the ERP for financial reporting & accounting.

It is important to distinguish between the immediate needs & effectiveness of solutions vs the long-term, wish-list needs of an organization. Hyper-productive application platforms such as kriya come to the rescue & provide instant ‘disposable’ technology solutions to bridge the gap between today’s business needs vs a long-term strategic approach.