Technology is often the vital ingredient in helping companies stay one step ahead of the game, but how do you know what the new thing is?
For the businesses that were early adopters of cloud computing they can clearly identify the benefits of utilising a new technology. When a game changer technology comes around there are benefits of getting to grips with it before anyone else.
Can new technology really make that much of a difference? Well, the earlier you can understand how a new or emerging technology can benefit your business the earlier you can offer it to your clients. You can use it as a point of departure or a positioning statement; you offer something no one else does. It also means you get to understand it before anyone else, are able to get to grips with it and understand what elements of it you can use. If it something that benefits the way you run your business, like cloud computing, it can ensure you save costs and are working more flexibly than your competitors from earlier.
So understanding and identifying what the new technologies are can be a big deal. Every year, Gartner publishes what’s called a “Hype Cycle”. It’s designed to show firms who want to describe themselves as digital businesses, what are the most significant and important trends and emerging technologies. For teams focused on innovation, CIOs, R&D developers as well as entrepreneurs and business strategists.
The cycle divides the technologies into five different strands helping to map where they are on the consciousness and awareness and the business community; Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated expectations, the Trough of Disillusionment, the Slope of Enlightenment and the Plateau of Productivity. This map enables them to plot where a technology is. For example, hybrid cloud computing and cloud computing, according to Gartner, will reach a plateau in around 2-5 years. This means that the people who are being reached as potential customers has reached a peak; after all there are only so many companies who can benefit from using the platform.
The thing about emerging technologies is that not all are applicable or relevant to everyone. Autonomous vehicles will have an impact on many different sectors, especially logistics, manufacturing and potentially some professional services but are unlikely to impact, say accountants.
The trick is to identify the right emerging technology for your sector at the right time. Technologies like cloud computing affect a wide range of businesses and they affect business behaviour. It can also impact on the products offered and affects the rate new businesses can start up and grow. So not only does this impact a wider range of firms – most businesses use data and have an IT need – it also affects different sectors. For example as well as those building hardware and selling it, the cloud impacts on those selling services to new businesses and those who might need support or a professional service like accountancy or digital marketing. It has a greater impact and is therefore more a sea change technology.
Gartner’s Hype Cycle is interesting as it is important to map and track technology changes. But while they identify being at the right place at the right time it is also vital to understand how significant a technology is going to be. A new technology platform like the cloud is exactly the kind of thing you want to be at the ground floor of, as it help a business grow quickly and leap ahead of its competitors. Using a tool like this to identify new technology enables a business to hold their finger up into the wind and use their powers of deduction to see what way the wind is blowing. By understanding their sector, regularly mapping how they themselves do business and what challenges they are facing can help a firm understand how a new technology might affect them and prepare for its adoption.