‘Everyone Always Wants New Things’: What Michael Scott Can Teach You About Technology

Warren Miller

If there’s one business leader on TV you shouldn’t model yourself after, it’s Michael Scott, the clueless boss from NBC’s “The Office.”

From the insensitive way he handles employees to his utter lack of self-awareness, he’s demonstrated time and time again how a manager shouldn’t behave.

In the season-four episode “Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” he offers yet another reason you would never want to follow his lead: his strong opposition to adopting the latest technology.

When former temp and current corporate executive Ryan Howard visits his old Scranton, Penn., office to show his colleagues how the new Dunder Mifflin website will help the company increase agility and adapt to the marketplace, Michael balks.

“Technology helps business, OK?” Ryan tells Michael. “You should not resist it. This is the way the world is moving.”

“I happen to think the old ways of doing business are better,” Michael says.

Two ways technology can help deliver business value

As usual, Michael Scott is dead wrong. In today’s digital world, companies must reimagine how they do business. They need to adopt the latest cutting-edge innovations in order to stay competitive.

It’s particularly crucial for chief operating officers and other executives within supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, asset management, and R&D to embrace technology – for two primary reasons:

  1. Technological advancements, including the Internet of Things (IoT), can help you better connect your systems, assets, and people. With wireless, IoT-enabled sensors, your employees have access to all the data they need to streamline their efforts, increase asset efficiency, and develop smarter products.
  1. Innovative technology enables businesses to operate in real time – so you can seize opportunities and resolve problems immediately. “It’s no longer large companies that crush small,” says author Jim Harris. “It’s the fast that crush the slow.” Your business needs an innovation engine that allows you to harness the full power of machine learning, Big Data, analytics, and IoT to take action and scale quickly in today’s digital age.

Unleash the future of your business

By the end of “Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” Michael acknowledges, “Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology.” But he’s still got reservations.

The companies that embrace the latest innovations and remain on the cutting edge of their industries will not only survive, they’ll thrive. Organizations with technology-averse leaders like Michael Scott at the helm? They’ll face a long, uphill battle – and probably a losing one.

Discover how you can adopt a digital innovation system that can empower your enterprise to take advantage of today’s leading technologies. Register now to attend SAP Leonardo Live at Kap Europa Congress Center in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on July 11–12, 2017, and unleash the future of your business.

Image credit: Dunder Mifflin logo by Superrcat on Flickr. Original uploader was Pbroks13 at en.wikipedia.


About Warren Miller

Warren Miller is a senior writer with more than 10 years of experience. He has written extensively on the topics of marketing, customer engagement, commerce, sales, HR, and supply chain.