I, The Absolute

Archive for April 1st, 2005

Management of Technology

Posted by itheabsolute on April 1, 2005

The other day I was in a meeting with our e-commerce team and a client. We were discussing how life was getting difficult because the SAP system of the Client produced an extra comma into the file format, which made it impossible for the file to be converted into readable and thereby printable form (through our e-com system).

Was life this difficult all along? No. Transactions used to happen without any of these for years. We were stuck with a misplaced comma causing misery to teams of people whose KRAs could get affected and which threatened loss of business from the client if our e-com team did not take care of properly positioning this comma.

An example of our inability to properly use technology to develop “simpler” solutions to everyday problems.

Usually Airliners do not prefer to ground the flights. It is an expensive proposition. But aircrafts need to be cleaned and maintained. During a routine cleaning, a certain nozzle of an aircraft was sealed with a tape to enable ‘proper cleaning’. Keeping the nozzle open is the only way to know the altitude of the aircraft. The aircraft takes off normally and in no time the pilot discovers that he cannot read the altitude of the aircraft. At night, if you cannot read altitude either you could be flying well above the required altitude or could be flying very close to the ground. The aircraft crash-lands on a sea and many of the passengers die. The ground boy who cleaned the aircraft ‘forgot’ to remove the tape put on the nozzle. An example of a small manual error resulting in a large technical failure. Also an example of implementing an inept technology, which could result in such major mishaps.

It has been vociferously argued that ATMs and other direct banking channels will make branch banking redundant. (Senior people from Hum Hain Na bank believe in this too)

In the last few years, I have seen the queues at the bank counters only going up. People are still not comfortable with direct channels; people still want to talk to bankers. There are many types of transactions, which direct banking channels as of now do not cater to. It is not possible to replace human beings. I understand that Chase Manhattan Bank has 500 branches in NY City alone. Technology is an enabler and definitely not one, which can make human beings redundant.

Moral: Technology per se can never bring solutions. Nor will technophobia help. Technology will have to be properly understood and harnessed to bring, inter alia, maximum benefit to maximum number of people. Administrators and Senior Managers have an important role to play in putting to use technology. Management education hopefully will teach us how to put to use technology to maximise ‘human convenience’.

Post Scriptum:
– Direct Banking Channels include phone banking, ATM, internet banking, etc
– Branch banking refers to transactions happening at branches

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Unrelated Factoids / Thoughts – Part IV

Posted by itheabsolute on April 1, 2005

1. Thank God, it’s Friday. There won’t be many people at office to disturb me on Saturday and Sunday. I can work longer and undisturbed
2. With the possible exception of equator everything begins somewhere – anonymous
3. The greatest bliss is that the innermost thought CAN remain undivulged. If others knew what we ‘can’ think, there could be a war everyday
4. ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ duality is a reality of life
5. We will do all that is possible now. The impossible will take a little longer – anonymous
6. If it could have been done, it would have been done. Provided it was tried. Since it was not done, either conclusion is possible. It cannot be done or it has not been tried
7. I wan to live in the world on my terms – Hemmingway
8. Conscience is many times a matter of convenience. On things convenient to us, we can be moralistic. On things otherwise a little licence is always okay
9. Can anyone please tell me who designs the on-court attire of Serena Williams?
10. Rebel destroys the system; revolutionary transforms it
11. What is common need not be simple. For instance, a common emotion like love
12. Do the best things in life come free or is there no free lunch?
13. Some good things definitely come free. Life has come free. Sleep, at least till one gets old, comes free
14. Sleep is the second best thing in life
15. Finally, OED had to accept ‘prepone’ as a word and publish it. It will not be long before we (Indians) make The King’s English to be edited to meet “Indian grammar” convention
16. Is there a ‘right’ age for marriage?
17. Salman Rushdie (British citizen) writes “Satanic Verses”. Ban the book; disown him. He wins booker. Declare that he is an Indian. Invite him for felicitations
18. Do good intentions justify mismanagement?
19. What would all those on-looking foreigners be thinking when our heroes and heroines rehearse/shoot for dance/song sequence for our movies in those foreign locales?
20. India seems to be the only country with song-dance sequences in films
21. Indian is a very old country. But does it require that it always needs to be ruled by old ministers?
22. Has anyone kept a count of how many times ZMZ repeat telecasts a movie?
23. The idea of an agreeable person is one who agrees with me – Samuel Johnson

Post Scriptum:
Point 7 – That he later committed suicide is a different matter
Point 10 – In India, many activists do rebellious/destructive activities in the name of revolution /constructive activity (Medha Patkars of the world included)
Point 18 – Behind Nehru’s misplaced planning on making India a superpower through socialistic philosophy were good intentions
Point 19 – It is more interesting to watch these people in the background (with question mark on their faces) than watch our heroes and heroines dance

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