Technology is advancing at an ever-increasing pace. New technologies come and go every year and for many people keeping up with technology advances is a real challenge. However, it is a challenge that you must accept and overcome because technology is playing a more important role in our daily lives and in business, and failure to stay up to date can result in missed opportunities.
Maintaining an active interest in technology is especially important for school and college leavers because so many job prospects involve IT. No matter what career choice you make there will be a range of software and apps which are used by the industry to improve processes. These generally change every few years as different software houses implement new technologies to their product line and win a greater market share.
More recently the explosive rise of apps for mobile devices has led to a whole new range of computerized support systems. Many people consider apps to be little more than games and social media, but this could not be further from the truth. There are now many business apps that are designed to allow entrepreneurs and managers to stay fully connected with their operations via their mobile phone and tablets.
One of the most important advancements for business has been the development of ever more complex enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP).
Enterprise resource planning, often shortened to ERP, is the latest advancement in computerized business support systems. ERP solutions provide real-time reporting for managers by allowing every part of a business to input data via front end systems throughout the work cycle. ERP was initially designed for production lines but it now covers the whole business cycle, from stock control and manufacturing through to sales, customer services, distribution, human resources, marketing and accounts.
Information is added to the system by each company department and the ERP software generates reports in close to real-time that decision makers can view. Access to real time business information allows managers to make proactive decisions and this can give them a huge competitive advantage. Consider that the traditional system would involve monthly management accounts being produced which compare performance to the business plan. These reports would not highlight short-term peaks and troughs in the business that might be affecting productivity. ERP addresses this head on.
Because ERP software is advancing at an astounding rate, and because there are so many software providers competing to produce the best solution at a competitive price, this is a classic example of an area of software development that requires you stay fully up to date. You cannot learn about ERP in the first semester at college and hope to walk into a job a year later if you have not fully appraised yourself with the latest software packages. So, how do you achieve this?
Technology awareness strategy
You need to develop a strategy to stay apace with developments in your chosen specialist areas. These rules apply to all areas of learning but here we shall specifically look at software and technology.
First, you need to determine what your needs are. In the case of education your needs are to be sure that you understand the latest advancements and are able to discuss their features and differences candidly if prompted.
Second, you should assess the resources that are available to you. Generally you will use the Internet as the main resource, and maybe technical journals too. All the major software providers have blogs and use social media now to announce new versions, so follow these pages.
This will lead to information overload if you are not careful, so rank each of the resources in order of usefulness and ensure that you are at least reading the top five every week.
The final step is to take the time to investigate the new software if possible, or speak directly to people who are using it.
If you follow these steps you can keep yourself up to date and this will give you an edge when you apply for work.