November 5, 2006

With availability of myriad communication tools and the power of internet, the world is rapidly shrinking in time and space. Many organizations are using these new-age communication technologies to empower their people and change the paradigm of doing business. And this is evident in the astronomical growth and innovative practices of many organizations.

But as the world is becoming smaller and smaller, some companies in India are still in deep slumber blissfully unaware of how the world is changing. These are typical command and control organizations that believe in archaic philosophy of not disturbing the status quo if something is behaving in predictable ways. But in the process these organizations miss many opportunities of massive growth and betterment not only for self but also for its customers, employees, and society at large.

There are many companies in India, which in this day and age of free information and lightning fast communication, censor the usage of internet in office. They don’t give access to internet to many of their employees thinking that it would be misused. The reasons can be as bizarre as “employees visit job sites”, “employees do personal things on internet”, “employees play games on internet”, “employees chat with friends and neglect official work”, etc. To me this kind of logic seems nothing less than childish. For instance, an employee interested in visiting job sites will anyway do so after the office hours from her home or cyber-cafĂ©. Blocking internet in office is no way of engaging the employee or to tackle the issue of attrition. Similarly, with the advent of internet access through mobile phones, the concerns of the employer can never be justified. With a GPRS enabled compatible mobile phone, internet access is possible anytime and anywhere. So it’s foolhardy to believe that if you can cut the access to internet or technology for an employee in office then he would be cut off from that technology all the time. It’s a no-brainer yet many companies are yet to understand the damage they are doing to themselves with such ridiculous policies. My simple philosophy is: If you can’t trust your employees with productive use of technology then either you are not hiring right or you are not leading your employees effectively.

Another problem with some organizations is that they apply technology but don’t milk the technology fully. An example: The latest version of Lotus Notes has chat facility but many of the organizations that use Lotus Notes as an email client keep the chat facility disabled. I have a simple question: Who is at loss? The answer is much simpler. It is the company which suffers due to under-utilization of the technology for which it has paid a big price. For instance, encouraging the use of chat facility will result in cost-effective real time communication. It will save on telephone bills. Moreover, it can aid faster decision making and at the same time avoid many a nuisance created by telephone. This is just an example.

There are numerous such instances when under-utilization of technology or censor of technology results in massive cost and least enhancement of productivity. The problem with technology is that it can’t be as effective in isolation as it can be in a holistic framework. Technology works best when it is open and uncensored. The sooner Indian companies learn this, the better it would be.

2 comments

  1. manoj // November 8, 2006 at 9:07 PM  

    Hi Mayank,
    I agree with your view that any new technology should be used to it's full potential. But then one of the reason some company censor internet is security. They say that data can be transfered very easily using internet which sometimes can be very dangerous for the company.

    Manoj

  2. Mayank Krishna // November 10, 2006 at 1:03 AM  

    @Manoj: Security is an issue but censor on internet is not a solution. For that you need to build security safeguards with the help of technology.