What Electricians Can Teach You About Software Adoption

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by aitendant, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. aitendant

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    Nov 11, 2009
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    This morning we had a meeting with some electricians, painters and plumbers and developed some valuable insight. Some of these guys and a lady were our customers already and others were new to our solution; this turned out to be the right mix for us to learn. Here is a big lesson. People are not afraid of technology as much as they are of commitments.

    As someone that speaks to many people about www.aitendant.com and its technology on a fairly regular basis, I often do not understand why people don't jump for joy when they hear about some new technology that will inevitably lead to world peace and end hunger. It was my ignorance. I get excited because technology is my business. It is not something extra.

    New technology for technologists represents mile markers on the road to technology nirvana, whereas new technology for someone not in technology represents something additional, a detour or new to-do item. Learning this lesson was subtle. It did not scream loudly, it whispered in statements such as "I cant, its only me" or "we are a small shop."

    Before I make the jump, I don't want to suppose that the only reason technology is not adopted is because of time commitments. There are many reasons, all valid, including just plain fear of technology. I want to highlight and scratch the itch that often goes unsatisfied, that technology is sometimes an inconvenience.

    There, I said it. As with information overload for those not directly tied to information production, there is also technology overload for the semi technologist and even technologists. Limited resources, a one person shop or a small office, magnify the overload effect particularly when the technology being used, is used outside the users normal workflow. At that point technology becomes inconvenient. I am being careful because I want to get this right, what I mean by outside the workflow is if you are an active plumber (working constantly on plumbing projects), having you use a CRM tool is outside your normal workflow.

    Yes, plumbers need to use CRM tools. These tools represent an evolving technology that will help with the necessity of plumbing. How do you merge the two? The user interface will have to match the workflow. To minimize overload, the process of operating the technology must not intrude on the daily life of the user. The interface must be simple and natural.

    Of the many natural interactions, aitendant uses natural language. By using natural language aitendant makes the detour seem like an access road. Something familiar and moving in the same direction. Complex instructions are simplified and the only operational experience required are the experiences the user brings with them.

    Another nuance of natural language is that it does not require a direct visual interface. I can speak to you over a telephone and get my point across. I can send you a letter, email or text message and be just as effective and while for most sending a text is not a significant departure from their day. aitendant understands and processes natural language instructions sent remotely allowing the management of complex events in an ubiquitously simple way.

    aitendant understands that an important factor in driving technology adoption is alignment with the users current workflow and that the user interface is key to such alignment. Natural interfaces are easier to align because they are passive and require a lower learning hurdle. The more passive or simple the interface, the greater the adoption. aitendant applies a natural language interface to common sales, service, billing and customer self management business tools. The results have been a simplified user experience and more remote operational interaction. aitendant strives to make common business tools more convenient for plumbers, bakers, candle stick makers and their customers.

    I hope this is helpful and sparks some ideas as to how we all can apply new interfaces to foster greater adoption of business tools across varied users and open complex systems to the masses.
    #1 aitendant, Jan 15, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  2. Fergal

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    Nov 18, 2007
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    Very interesting post. The insight you give will prove very useful to anyone who is selling technology or software. When selling to someone it is very important to be able to see the world from their perspective and to explain how your product or service will help them solve their problems. Your post outlines these issues very well.

    [Moving thread to Free Business Advice & New Business Ideas forum!]

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