Today’s smartphones provide a wealth of data to the owner: heart rate, number of steps, sleeping habits, screen time, etc. They are sophisticated monitoring machines yet fail to alert the owner when something as simple as voicemail has reached capacity. This week alone I learned from another that my voicemail box was full and experienced the same frustration when I was unable to leave a message on my sister’s phone. Why can’t the phone tell us that?

The same principle applies to cars – vehicles monitor gas mileage, tire pressure, average speed and a host of other measurements but don’t tell the driver when a headlight or taillight is burned out. There should be a notification system for something that you can’t see on your own yet is important for visibility and safety. Instead of the annoying “advances” in lane mitigation systems, I wish they would have added a “bulb-replacement-needed” indicator instead.

In the race to add more bells and whistles sometimes the fundamentals are overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake in your organization. Before you monitor something, make sure it’s what matters to the user.

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