Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Dec 2006 15:24 UTC
Windows Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has written article in which he wonders if your operating system isn't broke, why 'fix' it? If what you're running now works for you, why should you move 'up' to Vista? Joe Wilcox responds to SJVN: "Colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols asks 'If your operating system isn't broke, why 'fix' it?' The very question is the problem. The question reflects a sentiment I hear too often as an excuse for keeping old technologies in place - long after their real usefulness is gone."
Permalink for comment 192675
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Grating assumptions.
by MacTO on Fri 15th Dec 2006 16:08 UTC
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

These upgrade vs. don't upgrade articles are incredibly grating because they depend upon so many assumptions. But this is more true for the upgrade side, who likes to proclaim that new technology instantly means improved productivity.

There was a book published on the topic of computers and productivity a number of years back by Landauer. While I'm sure that people will dismiss the book "The Trouble with Computers" as being meaningless because of it's age, it is also worth pointing out that the dynamic was quite similar in the mid-1990s as it is today: salesmen have a product to sell, and they claim that newer/faster/better features mean an instant boost in business productivity.

Landauer's point was that it may be true, and it may not be true. Quite often, productivity and usability studies are not completed or are very shallow. So a new piece of technology may not boost productivity at all. Another central point was that productivity often depended upon implementation. So if that wonderful proven productivity booster was plopped onto the company's employees without planning the deployment strategy or re-training the employees, they would not see the desired effects (or even quite the opposite). Just imagine a company subscribing to the Internet, to centralize their inventory system and communicate with their clients. A big productivity boost, right? If done properly, sure. Done improperly, and your employees may end up using it for personal email and web browsing.

Adopting new technology takes time. It takes time to see what the true productivity gains will be, where the faults are, and to plan implementation. In businesses, and to some individuals, time has a real monetary value. Either way, software and the resulting hardware upgrades do involve money. So unless there is a clear cut and positive return from an upgrade, why even consider it?

Reply Score: 5