Looking for assurance that you’re making the right investments in technology? Below, we outline three factors that are critical to successful technology decisions – 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“How do I know our tech investment won’t quickly become outdated?”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.
Business news headlines often tell us that XYZ company lost its customers or market share due to being held back by “old” technology. They also tell of the latest new tech companies or 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 technology is often “it depends,” which can sound like an evasion or consultant-speak, but in fact is just plain truthful. Which leads us to our first key to effective technology:
What’s best for YOU (not them)
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 who 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 success requires honest self-awareness, followed by informed execution. Effective technology happens 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.
Technology has 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 rarely a viable strategy. 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 affordable 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.
What will your people Do (and not 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 people 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. Leaders of organizations need recognize the criticality of people across the enterprise and may even change their culture to ensure effective technology adoption.
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..
At dPrism, we specialize in facilitating this conversation. Should that interest you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.