Technology as an enabler – Striving for reduction or production

By Bryan Hufford.

Cloud, as-a-service and automation buzzwords echo loudly in almost every technology sales presentation these days. Businesses are interested but the same question keeps repeating, “what do those concepts really mean for the bottom line?”.

With the exception of specialized industries such as Healthcare, the idea of “Reduction or production” speaks one of two the elemental benefits that technology should deliver from a business viewpoint.

Reduction

Is a technological innovation that enables service to be delivered with reduced effort, cost or time. It speaks to the old adage “doing more with less”.

Reduction technologies generally provide compelling business cases because reduced operating cost or complexity is a recession/economic downturn friendly benefit. So it is seen as a safer option.

Production

Is a technological innovation aimed at delivering more or increasing capacity disproportionately to the production effort.

Production improvement innovations are compelling when a company is looking to expand. Expansion brings with it increased risk and liability and these types of technologies minimize that exposure.

Direct and indirect benefits

A direct benefit is one that immediately targets ‘reduction or production’ principles. An example is an automation technology that makes retrieval from the warehouse faster through the use of robots and conveyer belts.

An indirect benefit is one that needs to be ‘deduced’. For example, collaboration software improves the quality of communication and results in fewer meeting and errors. This makes staff more efficient and allows them to be more productive without investing additional time.

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