Making technology work

Information technology is becoming increasingly common in today’s work place. Technology has become ubiquitous in our professional and personal lives, from the internet to business applications to biometrics. If a nation wants to maximise benefits from its IT investments, it is critical to have a technology savvy labour pool.

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By  Angela Sutherland Published  December 18, 2005

|~||~||~|Information technology is becoming increasingly common in today’s work place. Technology has become ubiquitous in our professional and personal lives, from the internet to business applications to biometrics. If a nation wants to maximise benefits from its IT investments, it is critical to have a technology savvy labour pool. Apart from the pace of change, the information revolution is not radically different from previous ones. The internet has had its boom and crash and there is no reason to suppose that history will be negated. Technology will be exploited to achieve maximum benefits eventually, however, this will only be possible if it becomes workable for end users, enabling businesses to enjoy optimum benefits from their IT investments. Take biometrics for instance; The International Biometric Group (IBG) predicts the global revenue from biometrics products and services will grow to US$2.6 billion by the end of the year and US$4.6 billion by 2008. One nation that is making use of this technology is the UAE. It is one of the first countries to use an iris scan at most points of entry. Officials started the “Eye Scan Project” in 2000 by installing systems at three major prisons across the country. However, the project was expanded to ports and airports in 2002. The Middle East’s IT industry is flourishing and corporations are increasing their IT budgets. However, CIOs need to be careful in their spending. With unlimited cash at hand and multiple projects underway at once, it is easy to lose sight of acquiring appropriate solutions and staying within the allocated budget. CEOs and CIOs need to focus on their organisation’s bottom line, concentrate on hiring quality over quantity and stay clear of technology hype. The public and private sector organisations in the Middle East should also consider the relevance of new technologies to their business operations prior to investing on IT projects. Corporations continue to deploy technologies without doing their homework. The price of IT solutions falls constantly and businesses take advantage of this to purchase new technologies and adapt their methods accordingly. Organisations fail to find out the long-term benefits of these solutions, or if they will be user-friendly. It is not always easy to make right decisions, however, corporations should ensure new technologies work for them. Real gains come when new technologies adapt to the needs of the end user. People are not always comfortable using a technology that is difficult to use or understand. New technologies are readily accepted when they are convenient, easy to use and reliable. The success of all new technologies hinges on humans’ ability to use them to accomplish desired tasks. The worldwide IT spending is expected to go from strength-to-strength for the next couple of years, let us hope the Middle East is able to exploit this boom. ||**||

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