A few weeks ago, Keir Pollard and I had the opportunity to attend the annual APPA Business and Financial Conference. This years conference was hosted in Portland, OR and from all accounts was very well attended, and full of informative sessions across a variety of topics.
One of the highlights for us at the conference was a session on mobile and cloud productivity apps. SpryPoint founder, Keir Pollard, co-hosted the session with our partners at the Easton Utilities Commission out of Maryland. The session focused on technological trends that are leading public power utilities away from legacy computing such as client/server, and increasing adoption of distributed computing to streamline business processes.
There was excellent discussion from the audience, and interestingly enough it focused more on the user adoption of technology and the impact on business processes, than on the underlying technology.
There were two interesting takeaways from this discussion.
- Advances in the underlying technology (think operating systems) have increased the ability for technology to be adopted by even those who may be somewhat tech-adverse.
The usability factor has increased tremendously. For example, when was the last time you heard of a lengthy class on how to use a tablet? The user experience of these types of devices (tablets and smartphones) has become so intuitive that it breaks down many of the barriers that hampered adoption in the past.
- The discussion on business processes focused primarily on how utilities are using new technology, whether that is mobile apps or cloud computing, in an effort to eliminate manual processes.
Many of these manual processes originate from shortcomings in their existing business systems, or the inability for these systems to adapt to incorporate changes or updates in the business process.
The key takeaway from this discussion is that there’s no magic app or system to fix all inefficient business processes, but rather that app or system should be flexible enough to evolve as your business does.