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Human Factors in Technology

"The complexities of information technology in the 21st century require organizations to make informed decisions about how best to leverage IT. Most importantly, organizations need to ensure that the decisions about deploying IT are aligned with the organization's strategic business objectives" (Luftman, Bullen, Liao, Nash, and Neuman, 2004).

In some cases, organizations that integrate IT as a means to improve the business often find that the new technology being implemented does more harm to the organization than good. I've witnessed organizations that utilized a new IT system that had more problems and an excessive amount of glitches that ended up slowing down production thus halting the daily operations. For example, the DMV were using a new system in hopes of reducing long lines by adding more options individuals can use to make their visit to the DMV a little less time consuming. Consequently, the system had one too many bugs that needed debugging, thus causing the DMV to have limited functionality. For six hours, the DMV was unable to register vehicles, issue new drivers licenses, etc.

"Individuals within organizations are beginning to make an important realization: more IT usage in the workplace can, at times, lead to productivity losses. We conceptualize this frequently observed, but largely ignored phenomenon as technology overload, when additional technology tools begin to crowd out one's productivity instead of enhancing it. We found support for three main factors contributing technology-based productivity losses through information overload, communication overload, and system feature overload. Interestingly, these factors are a function of the individuals who use the technology, not the technology itself." (Wisniewski, 2010)

Based on my own personal experience I have witnessed first-hand how my organization expected technology to significantly improve the overall functionality of the company. An example of this massive improvement to the medical industry includes the developmental medical records departments transition from paper record-keeping to electronic record keeping. In 2003, my organization was in the process of making an electronic transition to the electronic filing system. The transition was not primarily a strategy for improving business externally; the transition was considered a strategy to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the day-to-day operations to ensure the organization is functioning smoothly. With the electronic filing system, patient information is maintained and updated during each doctor's visit. Instead of physicians thumbing through charts and relying on their nurses to jot down pertinent information on a case by case basis, the physician can utilize computers in the visiting room. Operational level IT processes are typically taken for granted. These activities cover many day-to-day functions such as production, scheduling, maintenance, resource control, and administrative services. These activities are sometimes the most critical, however, because a failure in this area will be visible to external clients/customers and partners, and internal partners (end users). So unlike application development and strategic planning, it is often unheralded, and attention is only given upon lack of or poor performance.

"A basic motivation for applying information technology to a business process is to improve the functioning of the process, usually by changing how it is accomplished. The definition of business process reengineering (BPR) or, ―redesign,‖ given by most experts includes the implementation of IT as part of the reengineering. In fact, many of the challenges of BPR were those of managing change rather than managing technology. Many of the failures of BPR were not technology failures, but change management failures. Organizations undertaking BPR today better understand the critical role that people and organizational change play in the implementation of technology." (Luftman, 2004)

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"The complexities of information technology in the 21st century require organizations to make informed decisions about how best to leverage IT. Most importantly, organizations need to ensure that the decisions about deploying IT are aligned with the organization's strategic business objectives" (Luftman, Bullen, Liao, Nash, and Neuman, 2004).

In some cases, organizations that integrate IT as a means to improve the business often find that the new technology being implemented does more harm to the organization than good. I've witnessed organizations that utilized a new IT system that had more problems and an excessive amount of glitches that ended up slowing down production thus halting the daily operations. For example, the DMV were using a new system in hopes of reducing long lines by adding more options individuals can use to make their visit to the DMV a little less time consuming. Consequently, the system had one too many bugs that needed debugging, thus causing the DMV to have limited functionality. For six hours, the DMV was unable to register vehicles, issue new drivers licenses, etc.

"Individuals within organizations are beginning to make an important realization: more IT usage in the workplace can, at times, lead to productivity losses. We conceptualize this frequently observed, but largely ignored phenomenon as technology overload, when additional technology tools begin to crowd out one's productivity instead of enhancing it. We found support for three main factors contributing technology-based productivity losses through information overload, communication overload, and system feature overload. Interestingly, these factors are a function of the individuals who use the technology, not the technology itself." (Wisniewski, 2010)

Based on my own personal experience I have witnessed ...

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