Technology – When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

Matthew Dunn - 18/05/2016

“That’ll do pig, that’ll do” – at the end of the film “Babe”, after winning cheers and adoration Babe sits down next to Hoggett whom utters the famous phrase.

In this instance it was an understatement but how often do we settle for “that’ll do”? How often do we just go with something that doesn’t really give us what we want, but it’s close? How many of us have sports trackers in drawers somewhere that were used for a while but at the end of the day, do I really need a piece of kit to tell me that I don’t exercise enough or get enough sleep? I have an ever tighter belt and bags under my eyes that remind me of both, so no, probably not. Anyway, it was only cheap and the fact that I didn’t fully adopt the technology doesn’t matter, as the rest of the family have fallen off of the 10,000 steps challenge wagon too. I’ll put it in the drawer of doom in the kitchen, next to the heart rate monitor, Wii Fit instruction manual and “I Quit Sugar” online cookery subscription login details.

However, if I actually spent more and really got something that fulfilled all my requirements then I would have a much higher chance of getting the results I want(ed). The cost to get a lifestyle change can be more than a $99 fitness tracker but what about the ROI? Fitter, faster, more energy, less chance of illness, lower reliance on that caffeine kick — the list goes on.

User experience is all too often forgotten or not put as a high priority when purchasing software or technology — like the Wii Fit, great piece of kit, does lots of funky stuff, looks great but I am stuck in the lounge with the dog looking at me like I’ve finally lost the plot. It requires a high level of coordination that wasn’t highlighted when I purchased it and actually, I like going out for a run so that was never going to last long.

Are the features really what I want? Well the heart rate monitor is great but actually, to fully unleash its capacity I need to subscribe and pay a monthly fee to unlock all the great features. Subscribe and pay more — but I spent a lot on the initial purchase? Oh, that was just the price for the kit and there’s ongoing costs, great. Well, actually, I only really need some of the functions as I swim like a brick, so those features are no good to me, and I have another piece of software that I use for my bike (which also has a bunch of stuff that I pay for and don’t actually need) so I just want the running part. Hang on, I’m paying for stuff I don’t use and therefore I’ll never get any ROI on that…not the best investment choice.

All too often software is seen as a sliver bullet but the huge majority of off-the-shelf software means that you have to change your practices to fit with its processes. This means it doesn’t stick or become adopted fully. Much like the “I Quit Sugar” online recipes. Man, the idea is great, no chunky cook book gathering dust on the shelf, it’s all on my iPhone and tablet — easy. However, having to completely change my shopping habits to purchase all types of weird and wonderful ingredients, as well as have a huge lifestyle change to get to where I want to get to is too much. Actually, I like chocolate, so to be honest I don’t want to change my eating habits THAT much. I’ll just have one meal from it once a week — that’s good enough isn’t it?

All of the above are great examples of where I had the best intentions but I settled for the “off-the-shelf” fix, knowing that none of them really hit everything that I needed. As a result, I have spent a considerable amount of money over a large amount of time and not received the outcome I want. If only I had initially spent the money on some personalised coaching, support, advice and guidance and had something built to my own personal needs and specifications.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn, published by Matthew Dunn, Business Development Manager, Kiandra IT

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