Don’t fret. Technology changes so fast that even the “experts” can’t always catch up with the latest breakthroughs. Here’s how to stay on top of technological developments:
Harness hobbyists’ knowledge. If you lack the patience to learn about complex new technologies, tap the brains of those employees who just love to talk in terms of chips and cyberspace. Example: Ask them to review new software.
Join a computer user group. Traditionally, most computer user groups have limited their discussions to ways individuals can make the most of a single type of program or machine. But some of today’s user groups are geared for managers and may focus on evaluating corporate applications of new technologies and beta-testing of software programs. You usually don’t have to be a “techie” to join. To learn about corporate user groups, ask your colleagues in information technology for referrals or check with software designers and computer programmers in your area.
Interview experts. Like a journalist investigating a hot story, line up sources who’ll update you on technological advances that may benefit you and your team. Talk to your company’s top computer people, outside consultants and representatives from computer companies (who will eagerly give you a tutorial/ sales pitch on new hardware or software that may relate to your business). And don’t overlook such resources as editors of computer magazines, manufacturers of custom PCs and even executives at local businesses that invest heavily in technology. Ask them to advise you on purchases of new systems, computer security and antivirus issues, and high-tech trends affecting your industry.