At the mid-point of the second decade of the 21st century, most would certainly be inclined to argue that the vast majority of people are at least somewhat “tech savvy”. Is that right though? Most tech users nowadays undoubtedly know their way around a computer, smartphone, the internet and social media. But what most of us forget is that being “tech savvy” does not only mean knowing how to perform daily tasks but also being resourceful in the eventuality that something goes wrong, and that’s where most are definitely not savvy, which is why researchers are now beginning to wonder whether top-of-the-line IT support might be more detrimental than beneficial.
While having IT support specialists on hand makes your work easier and more productive, allowing you to worry about what you are actually good at instead of trying to figure out how to fix tech problems or find the resources that you need, better tech support does make you less knowledgeable, as you never learn even the most basic troubleshooting.
A study about tech knowledge among families, for instance, is a great example for this argument, as it shows that in most cases, families delegate tech-related tasks to those who are considered to be more “savvy” or “technologically adept”, and if they don’t, other members really struggle with the simplest of tasks, to the point of ignoring, procrastinating or simply leaving them. This shows how reliant we are on specialists to provide IT and tech support in general, and how dependent and slow-witted this is making the general population.
Of course, most of us will likely never feel the effect of these shortcomings in their daily work environment – after all, that’s what IT assistance companies and departments are for, not to mention there is always a co-worker to turn to for help if it all fails – but the lack of knowledge can be quite restrictive even when working with London’s best IT support firms.
From a leadership perspective, having little-to-no knowledge about tech and IT subjects can make you look slightly incompetent, but that is the least of your problems. It does, however, also put you in a vulnerable position, as you can’t negotiate or choose between different service packages when you don’t have any clue of what those entail. It also puts you and your company literally in the hands of IT specialists, seeing as your lack of knowledge will likely make you trust their judgement of what you do and don’t need, even in the most basic of scenarios, which is a position someone in leadership should never let themselves be put in.
So, does this mean better IT support is bad for companies? Of course not. Companies are meant to be compartmentalized and have specialists working on their specific areas rather than trying to solve problems they’re not meant to, as that’s how you increase productivity and ensure success. Being completely “tech ignorant” isn’t however good for anyone as an individual, and can have a bad effect on a company, as becoming completely dependent on IT support can increase costs, delay operations and put the company in a vulnerable position with their partners. It would be thus ideal that companies would promote the acquisition of at least basic tech knowledge, from the higher to lower ranks, so that everyone can become at least a little more independent.