Technology: The New Tier to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

October 8, 2014
Salt Lake City, UT

I recently read an article explaining how technology has become so engrained and necessary in our lives, that it is becoming as essential as having breakfast in the morning.  Our society is technologically developing at such a rapid rate, that if we don't become consumers, we will starve.  In a business sense, the technology we employ becomes such an integral part of our bottom lines that education is imperative to keep processes running.  Maslow's hierarchy of need suggests that we all have basic needs, and once certain needs are met, we strive for the next level of fulfillment until we reach self-actualization.  At the very bottom of the hierarchy, the most basic needs are listed: shelter, food, water, air.  At the top is the need for all of us to reach our full potential.  In between are safety, belonging, and esteem.  So, where does technology fit into our structure of need?  If we consider that technology is such a basic need that we rely on for survival, it would probably lie somewhere between physiological and safety.

In a business sense, technology is the life-blood and driving force that allows for profit.  By employing sub-par or outdated technology in the office, the basic business needs are being overlooked and full self-actualization will not be met.  Technology in the office is undoubtedly a physiological need that if being unmet will lead to business starvation.  It can be especially challenging trying to keep a business up to speed with changes since technology seems to change so often, which is why education is so important.  Every so often, organizations should run a health check in the office to see how the physiological needs of the business are being met and if technology needs to be addressed.

An advantage of employing cloud-based technology in the office is that the vendor typically runs these health checks for you.  NetDocuments for example, as a multi-tenant SaaS architecture, allows for all users to be on the same instance of the latest version of the software.  The document management health will always be positive, because we are constantly monitoring for critical changes that need to be applied across the board and make them for you.  In this sense, the business gets a clean bill of health for document management.  But, document management is not the only piece of technology in an organization; there are many pieces to the puzzle that should be evaluated to ensure that you are meeting the physiological needs of your business.