PPAI Magazine March 2023

Voices | Innovation The Hidden Costs Of Underinvesting In Technology One way or another, you’ll pay. Here’s why it’s worth the price to staymodern, and how to get ahead before the bill comes due on your outdated systems. by Nick DiNicola IN TODAY’S WORLD of business, we’re all familiar with the customer’s “need it now” mentality. Most of us have that mentality ourselves. Investing in technology can help you move faster and deliver on those expectations. But many people get stuck in the “if it works, don’t fix it” mindset. And let’s face it, system modernization projects can be costly, time-consuming and disruptive to everyday operations. Remember the fiasco that Southwest Airlines was in over the recent holiday season? Thousands of people became stranded at airports all over the country, and Southwest had no immediate solutions. If reports are to be believed, the whole ordeal was caused by antiquated systems. The engine holding the airline together was, essentially, the tech equivalent of duct tape and twine. You can bet that they’ll be investing more in the technology required to handle current operations, but at a great cost to their reputation. Southwest – an otherwise successful and admired company – learned a painful lesson that ought to be instructive to companies in every other industry, including promotional products. There are many problems that can arise from underinvesting in technology. Let’s talk about some of the costlier ones. Losing Customers To The Competition This one is obvious. In our own industry, we need to be timely. Getting a quote to a potential client in an urgent manner can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. And if it’s easier to order with a competitor than from you, that can also sway potential clients to someone else. Productivity Takes A Hit As devices age, they tend to run more slowly and crash more often. This takes a toll on our productivity as individuals, obviously. But spread the same issue across several people, dozens or hundreds of employees, the negative consequences of that lost productivity can become exponential. We have all watched our computer’s hourglass icon empty its sand, turn over and repeat the process for what feels like an eternity. Maybe you have been on the phone while this is happening, Butusova Elena / Shutterstock.com 34 • MARCH 2023 • PPAI