I HAVE TO AMEND MY OLD WAYS OF THINKING. It used to be: the perfect family clan would include a doctor, lawyer and accountant so you had built-in trust when it came to handling matters of grave importance to your well-being.
Nowadays, there's one more professional needed in that arsenal: a trusted software engineer or, rather, a whole army of engineers. Like me, I'm sure you have become painfully aware of how dependent we now are on engineering expertise. It's not just for streamlining our company operations; it permeates all facets of our lives such as what one would hope would be a simple task of integrating a TiVo, DVD, TV and speaker system to work through only one remote. Not possible.
Okay, I'm emoting. I'm finding that, on so many levels, system design is not intuitive to baby boomer thought processes. Technology, as wonderful as it is, has created the need for a personal trainer who understands how to rewire our heretofore mechanical orientation to sync up with digital platforms so we can remain fully functional.
For the past two years LMT has transitioned from having several independent internal databases to one online centralized system so everyone can see what everyone else here is managing. It's not all that different from the production software you use to track cases and contacts--awesome, right?--except for the fact that we're all now wholly dependent on what these programs can do. If something needs to be done differently, we need the engineers to recode the backend.
Yes, that's it--it's a control thing. I'm out of sorts over the fact that I can no longer be the last word on how things around here need to function; instead, it's dictated to me by what the system can and can't do rather than what I want it to do and we can't "fix" things ourselves. So there; I've shared and now I feel better. Mostly, I think, because I've expressed this to some of you on the phone in the last couple of weeks. You assured me I'm far from alone in feeling this way so, now, I consider myself lucky to have this page to vent.
Centralizing our data was not, in itself, the biggest headache; the difficulties were created by our loftier goal: we wanted to manage and feed the data through LMT's website in order to create The BRIDGE--our new interactive network exclusively for the dental laboratory community. The feats of engineering that such a plan required sent us back to square one several times over.
The end result, however, is one I'm very proud of. But we couldn't have gotten here without the guidance of Eric Fisher, my son, who is a Social Design Strategist at Facebook. He coded our original website and conceived and did the graphic design for The BRIDGE--now launched and available. Eric's leadership and vision for this project have been crystal clear from the start and we believe The BRIDGE will lead the future of online business and social networking in our community.
In other words, may you all be blessed with children and grandchildren who are technophiles to the nth degree.