Technology – Solutions need to be simple

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This is another installment of my Technology posts, geared towards those of us who are technology professionals and support users or clients.

Solutions need to be simple. This is a fact, and many technology providers simply don’t understand it.

Let me give you a real life example I was presented with a few months back. I brought on a new client, who was leaving their old technology support company and hiring mine. Obviously I had to learn the network, and how things were being done. Throughout this process, I learned that there were staff outside the physical office with laptops who needed remote access. So I asked how they achieved this. I was shown how, and was completely blown away. The process was literally 3 typed pages. There were instructions on logging into the laptop as a local user, running a shell script, opening a .bat, inputting IP addresses, logging out, logging back in, manually mapping network drives, etc etc etc. The process was terrible, and users HATED doing it. In fact, it was so complex that even me, a technology professional and certified geek, had to read it twice to figure it out. The process technically worked, but it was so cumbersome that no one really used it.

So I redesigned the whole remote access aspect of the network. Long story short, I migrated to an SSL-VPN with single-sign-on, and users now only had 1 window to deal with, with one user name and password to input, and one “connect” button to click. In addition, I created a permanent site to site VPN, so users in that remote office could appear to be physically on the same LAN, without having to do anything special.

This is just one example of a solution that can work if it’s easy for users to operate, vs a solution that won’t work because it’s too complex for users to follow. Remember, keeping solutions simple and easy makes you look good, makes users feel comfortable, and will facilitate the adoption of technology in general.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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1 Comment

  1. Katy Pillman September 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    The only thing I have complicated is wiring, which is the weirdest solution I could possibly think of, but it simply works. However if it was my networking instead of graphical/power, than I got myself in trouble. Keeping solutions should be trouble, especially when you are writing the check. Employees can do more work if they can get to work faster and you only pay for working time and not logging in time.

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