IT Purchases: The What and How questions.

Whilst wandering the web I came across this quote

“Does Tescos buy the what—a new logistics system, say—at a cost of millions of pounds, install it, and then ask themselves, “I wonder how we are going to use this kit?”. Of course not. How the technology is going to be used is one of the first questions that is asked before the technology is even created”.

It got me thinking about all the mobile technology that’s been purchased over the last year or so and whether the How question was asked first.. or even at all.

This struck me quite recently when I was working in a school that had invested fairly heavily in tablet technology recently and in class the pupils had a choice of devices to use. Interestingly over the course of two afternoons, there was a noticeable drift by the pupils away from the tablets and towards the laptops to complete their work.

I asked the pupils why they’d made this choice and got some very interesting responses back. ‘Bigger screen’, ‘prefer to use a mouse’, ‘on screen keyboard is too big’  ‘moving text and graphics with fingers is fiddly’, were some. I might did deeper sometime.  One pupil said they’d like a laptop but with a touch screen, so getting the best of both.

I though back to my blog on devices, written a while back and came back to the How question. In the short term, the school in question might be able to purchase keyboards and mice for their tablet and ease the frustrations of their pupils. In the future, maybe it’ll consider the How question before its next large hardware purchase. Maybe others will too.


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