Thursday, November 09, 2006

Efficiency - lacking everywhere?

I read this post and the phrase "strange inability to find efficient solutions" kind of popped out at me.

Link to Ernie The Attorney: The lawyerly tendency to overbill

In Network Consulting this issue has come up for me as well.  I have even been guilty of it I suppose.  One problem in my field is it's always a moving target.  Another problem is if you are busy with work there really isn't much motivation to change or to come up with more efficient ways to do work.  Until of course you have been burned a couple of times.  If you have been in business for a while you realize that you must always come up with more efficient ways to do things, it is a (or should be) a constant process.  Of course this is one of those lessons often learned in hard ways. 

I suppose in the olde days of crafts and tradesmen (I even spelled old in and olde way) you could learn how to best do something from the master and that pretty much never changed.  Then along comes technology and changes everything.  Technology has been around long before computers but computer technology changes rapidly.  I have been trying to keep up on changes on the Internet for a bit now and it seems that new capabilities come out every week.  Within a couple of months a corporate procedure could change.  All companies must be pretty adaptable.

In technology we have for a long time been in the position that we have been able to change everyone else's environment but in truth not much changed in the way we could do things.  We still had to go to the office and sit at a keyboard and poke around for a while to figure out the problem.  That was inefficient but it was the only way to do it.  Updates didn't happen rapidly and you could subscribe to a new CD every few months or even once a year with changes and updates. 

Today I do most of my work from home, I have mentioned that before.  My customer says that I could even work in my underwear.  I wondered how he knew?  (Before you get creeped out don't worry I am actually in shorts and house shoes as well as a shirt.)  I can work on pretty sophisticated stuff from my laptop.  The really cool thing, efficiency wise, is I can often work on 2 different systems at the same time.  While I am browsing the Internet for a solution and maybe even listening to music digitally, viewing a video or talking to somebody on my phone, actually maybe through Skype.  It's all very cool. 

This for me has opened a whole new door.  Because I don't have to travel to my customers where I used to be able to see 2 or 3 customers a day I can know be on 10 systems a day easily.  Have a nice lunch with my wife, weight lift (which I'm getting ready to do when I finish this).  Life is good, but how does that change what I do?  For me I am trying to develop services where I am in constant contact with my customers and their systems.  I can actually keep their systems tuned up and avoid many of the problems that used to plague people.  Patches and updates come out weekly and often a few times a week.  This is a lot to keep up with.  You could just setup your computer to automatically update using Microsoft Update, the problem is the number of updates.  It is best to not do them constantly but at off hours and then there is the problem of being an administrator of your computer.  In a network environment I don't like to grant users administrator privileges (which is probably a separate post some day).  So they users often can't update.  There are network administrator solutions and I can oversee those from home for a reasonable price.  There are many things a person can do proactively to try to keep problems from happening and that is what I enjoy spending my time on. 

Hopefully I will always remember that there may be a more efficient way and will keep looking for them.

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