Looking for assurance that you’re making the right investments in new technologies? Below, we outline three factors that are critical to a successful technology decision-making process– irrespective of what brands or type of gear and software you choose.
When talking with prospects and clients, we get asked a lot of open-ended questions:
- “What’s the best technology for my organization?”
- “Why isn’t our technology as effective as it should be?”
- “How do I know our tech investment won’t quickly become outdated?”
These questions are not new – we have been hearing them for decades. And, given the trends and past experiences in the market, they are quite reasonable to ask.
We frequently read in business news headlines that XYZ company lost customers or market share as a result of being constrained by “old” technology. They also tell of the latest new tech companies or project management capabilities that will change everything, only to see that promising innovation gobbled up and buried by larger entities, leaving early adopters out on a ledge. All this can lead one to wonder whether effective technology is a viable goal or just a pipe dream.
Our first response to questions about the best technology is often “it depends,” which can sound like evasion or consultant-speak, but in fact, is just plain truthful. This leads us to our first key to effective and agile technology:
1. Better decisions are those that benefit YOU
The right technology is highly dependent on and specific to a company’s own unique mission, needs, current state, capacity, risk tolerance, culture, and attitude. Firms that simply follow the technology deployed by the market leaders can end up with vastly different results, even failure, and be left wondering why. Some of the hardest work we do is to counsel a client on why they are not the same as XYZ organization and why they were disappointed trying to follow them. Designing for technology that empowers your company in real time requires honest self-awareness, followed by informed execution. Effective decisions happen when multiple dimensions are considered and developed into a unique plan tailored to the company’s specific needs, and fired off in the right sequences. As with well-timed and choreographed fireworks on the Fourth of July, sometimes the results can be spectacular.
2. There are predictive macro and micro trends
Regrettably, perhaps only the entertainment industry has exceeded the technology industry in the use of hype to promote new developments. But the pursuit of every new hyped technology is not always a good decision. More often, jumping on the latest craze saps energy, resources, and attention. Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Internet of Things may in fact revolutionize the movement of money and the tracking of assets, but is it critical for your organization to bear the risk of being an early adopter in those areas? Micro-bursts of innovation can be a distraction from what’s important in the big picture.
Macro trends tend to be safer bets: Cloud computing, for example, is a new name for what we called “time-sharing” or “hosted application services” four decades ago, but these days it’s more price accessible and feature-rich than ever. And you can probably count on the cost of memory, processing speed, and bandwidth continuing to go down as well. Macro trends like these are important and predictable and are simply better bets than chasing speculation and hype.
3. What will your executive team do?
No matter what technology solution you choose for your firm, you won’t reap benefits if it isn’t adopted by your users. The most challenging factor in any technical endeavor has always been making sure business leaders are properly aligned to succeed. This means evaluating your entire organization in terms of staff quantity, quality, skills, attitude, organizational barriers, incentives, adaptability, and shared motivation. Brilliant technicians can create and install, but aligned and motivated leaders and staff throughout your organization are the true critical success factors. We see the “people factor” impacting every engagement, no matter what technology choices were made and how well they were implemented. Senior executives of organizations need to recognize the criticality of people across the enterprise and may even change their culture to ensure effective technology adoption and improved workflow.
These three keys are far from the only considerations as you seek to make the right technology investments. However, they are essential starting points for anyone beginning to assess the current state of their organization’s technology, their business, and market needs, and their internal capacity for technology leadership and change management.
We at Mod Op Strategic Consulting are here to assist you in choosing the right technology for your business’s successful digital expansion. Please, feel free to contact us if you’d like to chat further.