As published in Scotsman Guide's Commercial Edition, March 2007.
With computers' growing sophistication, the adage "garbage in, garbage out" has shifted from a data axiom to an economics issue.
Buy subpar products, expect subpar results.
Spend little on technological enhancements, look forward to fewer technological efficiencies.
According to the William Mills Agency's recent "Bankers as Buyers" survey [PDF], the real estate industry is shaping up to spend just as much on technology this year as it did in 2006.
This 3-percent to 4-percent increase in spending volume also comes as global tech-centric purchases are poised to grow 5 percent across the board in 2007 -- the smallest such jump since 2003, according to Forrester Research.
So what are we buying?
According to the William Mills survey, 75 percent of this spending will be devoted to new projects, as opposed to the support or maintenance of systems in place.
For our industry, these can range from relatively simple capital improvements, such as replacing laptops or PCs to keep up with their 3- to 5-year average lifespan, to more-advanced goods: fraud-detection software, online-security systems and the like.
In this month's Lead Article, KC Capital's Kim Daugherty takes a deeper look at the technology most of us have and the ways all of us can better utilize it.
Some methods might require a low-level investment -- such as ensuring you and your employees have the proper cell-phone plans and laptop add-ons to communicate online whenever, wherever.
Others take a wider-scale approach, such as boosting the presence of your company's Web site to attract a new breed of commercial borrowers and to carve your niche further.