There’s an ugly phrase that’s been doing the rounds in technology circles for a number of years, that’s often misinterpreted and just as likely misused. ‘Technology first’ is, at first glance, a tempting proposition. Who wouldn’t want to be at the forefront of digital development? But it has some troublesome connotations that businesses need to be aware of.

If a business is ‘technology first’ what sort of message does that give to its people? Businesses shouldn’t be centred around technology, they should be centred around the very reason they’re in existence. Whether that be staff, or customers, every business still has people at its heart and would be lost without them.

Always think about your end users

There are numerous examples of where business have clearly gone into a meeting, thinking ‘what can we do’ rather than ‘how can we make our customers lives easier’.

Voice recognition has come a long way, but when Apple launched Siri, the practical applications weren’t clear, marking it more as a novelty than a game-changing technology tailored to consumer needs and wants. On the other hand, when Google Assistant was launched, you just got the sense it had been designed with a real-life person in mind. In Apple’s defence, it takes a bold business to develop something so new in any market, but others have arguably eroded their first-mover advantage.

Always ask yourself 'why?'

Technology should only be created and employed if it provides real value, otherwise it can be a waste of time and money. Take the Juicero for example, a $400 juicer, complete with IoT connectivity, it employs an alleged 4 tons of force to transform pouches of fruit into juice. The Juicero and its hefty price tag have faced public criticism, with consumers asserting that they can just as easily achieve the same results with their own fair hands. The Juicero wasn’t a technology that customers were crying out for, rather an overpriced piece of kit, bringing added complexity to an otherwise simple process. (The lesson is, if you have to end up asking yourself ‘why?’ then the answer should perhaps be, don’t!)

Technology is an enabler, which should be viewed and described as such. So, whilst businesses scramble to roll out the latest tech, you should first think about how this will allow your people to do their jobs better and give your customers what they need. There aren’t many sectors that couldn’t benefit from a better digital strategy or a more aligned approach to tech.

Always make it personal

Personalisation is becoming much more important to businesses from all kinds of sectors, and this is perhaps a lesson in how businesses should think moving forward. Solutions, products and brands that are ‘tailored to you’ will help connect a business and their customer, and if technology can help in that ambition, this has to be embraced.

The truth is, we don’t have anything to fear from advancements in technology, indeed, we’d be the first to embrace them. But there needs to be a general refocusing within business circles. Technology first shouldn’t mean digital at the cost of the human elements of a business. So, next time you hear the phrase in a strategy meeting, think about how tech can help your people make the workplace a more effective environment.