Assignment no. 2 is all about uses of technology in businesses. This is a no-brainer. Even vegetable vendors use cellphones to book orders and exchange messages with their customers. At the Transcentral Highway near Balamban City (about 2 hours drive from Cebu City), one of the Manang vendors whose phone number I saved for future inquiries, was using Viber. Very techy Manang indeed.
ln the game studio I work with, we use technology all of the time. Every year, we spend 20%-30% of our budget on technology and technology-related purchases: equipment, software and licenses, maintenance, network, and others. It's a big chunk in the company's operational budget, but that's how it is.
Below I've listed the top 10 technology applications we're using in the studio. Most all of these are generic and are being used by other studios as well. Pls comment if you have suggestions on anything else that might be useful.
1. Laptops, personal computers, tablets, servers
This is basic but I have to cover this. :)
All of us in the office are using either personal computers or laptops to perform our work. May it be as simple as writing emails or as complex as rigging 3d models, animating objects, or writing lines of code, a decent, well-maintained computer is a must.
Our computers have a life-span of 2-3 years. We normally purchase new computers regularly, although lately we’ve deferred on capital purchases, preparing to push them off to next year when cash flow is better.
We use tablets for testing and for researching. We have different devices to simulate a variety of test conditions. We have Android and iDevices with different OS versions. They can be so costly, and I feel that all these manufacturers are milking us of our money, coming up with newer gadgets every year.
2. Network and connectivity
We’re using both Bayantel and PLDT. Both are far from decent and their customer support is horrible. The downside of doing business in the Philippines in addition to high cost of power is poor network infrastructure. We have PLDT and Bayantel to blame for that.
3. Cell phones
We don’t just cellphones for software testing. We use them to communicate with people. We call our staff through their cellphones. We sometimes communicate with clients through their cellphones.
4. Instant messaging
We allow our employees to use any kind of instant messaging in the office. We don’t set restrictions, except during software deployments when we need as much bandwidth as possible. To us, instant messaging is essential so employees can communicate with people and feel alive. We take note of people’s output and the quality of their work though. If instant-messaging use is affecting their work, we will know it. Only then will we investigate and set disciplinary actions. But unless an employee abuses the leniency we offer, he won't be in any trouble even if he uses instant messaging with people outside of the office.
5. Dropbox and cloud-based data storage
We deal with massive files day by day. We upload media files and source codes for our clients. While secure FTP is preferable for security, we generally prefer Dropbox for the convenience it offers. Besides, our clients like it too.
6. Websites and social media
Our website provides an overview about our company and what we can do. Applicants use it to check open positions. Potential clients review it to vet our capabilities. “Window shoppers” view it for random information about game development in the Philippines.
We use social media to engage potential applicants in a more informal, personal way. We also it as platform for people to connect with us and get to know more about what we do.
7. Online learning
Tutorials and how-to videos have become an indispensable source of knowledge for all of us in the office. Through online videos, we get to learn about new technology trends, tips and tricks about software and design, and many more.
8. Video conferencing
When talking with clients, we use Skype or Google Hangout--well, actually just Skype. These tools allow us to video conference with clients at zero cost.
Sometimes it is necessary to see the faces of the people you work with, especially those from remote. It helps in building trust, and it helps in cementing work relationships. When working with our clients, our approach is always to work with them as if we are their teammates, thus we need their trust. Our interest is in making them successful. If they are successful because of us, then they will be pleased with us and will keep doing business with us.
9. Basecamp for project collaboration
Basecamp is a web-based collaboration tool that is simple and powerful. It allows our project managers to assign tasks to team members, monitor the progress of our projects, and update clients through an easy-to-use dashboard.
10. Design and development software
We use special software for design and coding. Among them are Adobe Photoshop, 3d Studio Max, and Blender for 2d and 3d art creation as well as Unity 3d or Cocos 2d for mobile development.
We have an IT personnel in charge of maintaining our hardware and software assets. He is involved in all technology purchases, from evaluating requests, reviewing quotations, to formulating budgets and getting them approved.
As much as we can, we try and make sure technology decisions are linked to strategy. We have a committee that evaluates budget and makes sure we are spending effectively. For us, we measure the benefits in terms of a. reduction in work time b. improvement in output c. improvement in processes.
I'm passionate about business, art, and technology. For more about me, click here.
Not sure if you'll find this one helpful, but here's a book I co-wrote with a bunch of industry colleagues. You can click the image if you wanna check it out.
Ateneo Graduate School of Business
University of San Carlos