The role of technology

Chris Brogan had a great quote on Twitter yesterday.  It read "Technology is never the solution. It's the facilitator. Strategy aligned to goals is the solution." 

I would qualify the last sentence, but considering the 140 character limit on Twitter, I'd say he got the important part right.  Technology is a facilitator.  It's our job to figure out what, exactly, any technology would need to facilitate.  Consumers don't buy technology.  They buy solutions that make their lives better, and typically have little patience for interacting with technology directly.  The more invisible technology becomes, the more it will be embraced.

Last year I was reviewing a proposal with a client who was very concerned with predicting which technologies he should add to his products in the coming years.  It took a while to show him that once we identified the right consumer needs and benefits to deliver on those needs, we would probably find out that multiple technologies would be at his disposal to deliver them.  It's the technology piece that should remain flexible, as his strategy should be based on delivering consumer goals, not defining and protecting the enablers of any one set of solutions.

What is the role of technology in your company?  Does everyone know what goals the current technologies are enabling?  Or is the technology treated as if it is the benefit in and of itself?  You may need to shift a few perspectives to make sure that your strategy is based on delivering what it is that your consumers are actually wanting to buy.