You are an entrepreneur leading an enterprise business. That piece of shiny new technology is out in the market. And FOMO campaigns are being doled out by Tech companies’ marketing teams. Sales teams are reaching out to your competition. A few have of course reached out to you as well.
“If you do not invest in the new technology now, it will be too late in 6 months to a year from now”
“Your competition has already invested in initial pilots and would be ready with scaled programs by next year”
“You need expert assistance, because if you proceed without help from a well established, credentialed Systems Integrator, it will take longer and be tougher”
A couple of decades ago, a new technological innovation was introduced every few years. Windows. Office. Oracle. SAP. CRM.
A decade ago, a new a new technological innovation was introduced every couple of years. Cloud. Automation. IoT. Industry 4.0. Blockchain. Artificial Intelligence.
Today, established firms are consistently being presented with new technological advancements for adoption every 6 months to a year.
During COVID, VR took off. Metaverse became a hot topic. 2 months ago, Metaverse became a “cold” topic.
Artificial Intelligence, which was slowly becoming stagnant a few months ago, suddenly entered a hype cycle so huge, that Industries that were previously regarded as “laggards” are now actively pursuing the adoption of these advancements.
Early adopter firms that invested in massive cloud and digital transformations, are finally realizing that cloud can be pretty expensive if the right business cases were not identified initially and moving to physical on-prem servers.
The challenge is – no one is clear on the stability / adoption / value these technologies could bring. Since none of these have been tested out over decades or even years for that matter. It is FOMO that is driving most of the adoption. Using effort reduction numbers which can be realized 5 years from now. Which is risky. But as we all know – high risk, high returns – right!?!
I think it is high time that everyone returns to the basics. A business is not built to adopt the latest piece of shiny technology. Instead, here are some top questions a businessman should ask before starting on a new technology journey.
- Does the technology align with my business objectives and strategy?
The new technology should support your existing and future business goals.
Ensure that it fits within your strategic plan.
- What business problem does this technology solve, and what are the benefits?
Ensure that the technology addresses specific issues. Evaluate against the potential benefits you wish to target, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, or improved customer experience.
- Is the technology scalable and adaptable?
The technology should grow with your business.
It should be capable of being modified to accommodate future needs or changes in your industry.
- What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
Total cost of ownership is an extremely important and tricky metric to calculate.
Typical costs to consider would be the initial investment and the ongoing maintenance costs
But with today’s tech like Cloud and AI, potential hidden costs of adopting the technology arise – such as training, infrastructure upgrades, and vendor support fees.
- What is the return on investment (ROI)?
Return on Investment is another tricky number to calculate.
Typical approach is to identify the potential financial gains from the technology.
Ensure that you consider both short-term and long-term benefits, and weigh them against the costs.
- How will the technology impact my employees?
Examine how the new technology will affect your workforce.
This could include initial required training, job displacement or creation, reskilling of employees, and potential changes in company culture.
- How secure is the technology?
Assess the technology’s security features and potential vulnerabilities to protect your business and customer data. With tech like AI, bias and transparency issues are important to evaluate.
If your firm has a global presence, this process could be time consuming.
- What are the integration requirements?
Determine whether the technology can be seamlessly integrated with your existing systems, processes, and workflows.
If you have legacy systems in your organization, ensure compatibility evaluation is completed in time.
- How reliable and reputable is the technology vendor?
Research the vendor’s track record, financial stability, customer credentials and differentiators to ensure they are a trustworthy partner.
Ask the partner to share their view of the business problem you have – this will ensure understanding if they have understood your issues correctly.
- What kind of support and training does the vendor provide?
Evaluate the quality of customer support and training resources offered by the technology provider.
Ensure they are responsive and available in the moment of need.
The most important point when asking these questions, is to ensure that the research output / solution you receive is not accepted on first glance.
In today’s world, let’s say a vendor or a team member informs you : “Only 20% AI projects succeed and 80% fail in the long term”. You need to dive deeper into these numbers. Identify how your team or vendor got to these statistics. Question the data until you are satisfied.
In summary, make informed decisions about adopting any new technology. And ensure it is aligned to your business operations and growth that will lead to a positive impact.
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