Technology is a broader term than we are used to thinking of it. Generally, we think of it as the advanced computing power that we have in our pockets or the systems we build to automate large-scale data or information protection. However, in reality, it is a simpler term. Technology is simply the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in business and industry. Technology is as simple as a wheel, making transportation effective and as complex as an AI designed to learn and compete against masters in one of the most complex games ever made, AlphaGo from Google’s DeepMind.
Technology has been the driving force behind the advancement of humanity as a species and has brought us into a modern world. Tools of war, tools of peace, tools of leisure; all have worked together to build the world we have today.
It is no different for the business world. As technology has advanced through the ages, it has built organizations and empires, the Industrial Revolution. This event, which started in the early 18th century, fundamentally changed the way we lived our lives. Similarly, the Information Age has driven modernization and allowed new technologies to emerge that make processes more efficient.
So, when we talk about OrgTech or organizational technology, we refer to the practical applications of knowledge, processes, and devices used by an organization to fulfill its goals and services. In the Industrial Revolution, it was innovations like the assembly line and the printing press. Now in the Information Age, technologies such as the internet have revolutionized the way businesses operate. In an article for SpringerLink, Barbara L. Neuby defines Organizational Technology as “the sum total of man-made contrivances or developed processes that alter, refine, or create new goods and services delivered by organizations. It includes electronics, software, documents, new techniques, or any combination thereof used in the delivery of services.”
Let’s put this into an example so that we can best understand what we are discussing here. Let’s say you won the lottery today and you were planning to quit your job and see the world with your family. So, to prepare, you write up everything you use to do your job and the way you perform tasks so you can hand that off. Think first of how much that probably is, but next, how much relies on technology. No matter what industry you are in, you probably use a computer daily. Daily, you likely interact with software like:
- Word Processing Programs (like Microsoft Office, Google Docs, etc.)
- Video Conferencing Software (like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
- Communication Platforms (like Google Hangouts, Slack, etc.)
- Cloud Storage Platforms (like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or DropBox, etc.)
Those are the most basic, but if you have a list of customers, you probably have some sort of CRM like HubSpot, SalesForce, or RazorsEdge. If you are an e-commerce platform, you probably use HootSuite or Social Pilot for marketing and Shopify as your store base. Right now, these are just some software examples to illustrate the meaning of OrgTech. If you had to think of everything you do, there is probably a process that you follow to accomplish that and the technology it requires. Each of those actions, most of what you do, is a form of OrgTech.