Why Do Companies Struggle with Technology Innovation?
In today’s competitive marketplace, technology innovation is key to competitive differentiation, regardless of the industry you’re in. Yet according to a 2019 Gartner study, as the pace of change in technology continues to accelerate, breakthrough technologies like machine learning (ML), Deep Learning, Intelligent RPA, and others continually challenge even the most innovative business leaders to keep up.
Why do companies struggle or fail to execute their technology strategies? And why does technology delivery often feel so difficult? Business leaders can face their fears and create sound, strategic technology programs for their companies. But first, let’s review some common pitfalls to avoid.
Taking the DIY Road
Today’s technology universe is overflowing with open source and commercial solutions that offer endless options for those searching for the right product or provider. Technology can be so easily sourced that if you do a quick Google search, you can access just about any business intelligence (BI) tool you’re looking for. Yet with such an important implementation as technology, companies should be wary of taking a “Do It Yourself” approach, which could lead to wrong choices with expensive repercussions.
Creating Unnecessary Silos
Another pitfall is adopting too many technology platforms or “silos.” Many companies tend to purchase multiple platforms and then struggle to maximize each product’s full value. As a result, they find themselves mixing and matching technologies that don’t always “talk” to each other or harmonize well together, creating data silos. When platform silos create data silos, a data integration strategy is required, which leads to building warehouses, data lakes, data marts, etc. All of this can lead to a complex, costly implementation that can span months.
In addition, while certain platforms do indeed solve real business problems, having too many disparate silos makes it difficult to holistically analyze and integrate data, report findings, and derive actionable insights to make sound decisions. Bottom line, the goal is to avoid wasting valuable time, effort and resources.
Going the Single Route
At the other end of the spectrum, clients often ask me, “Can we maximize our investment by purchasing one technology solution that covers all business units?” That’s not the best answer either, because in doing so, your company could be losing out on the speed of innovation. Some products and solutions may offer more business benefits than others, and one size (or product) does not always fit all. For example, an Azure solution might work faster and easier — and deliver more benefits — than something on AWS stack.
The Solution: A Cohesive Technology Strategy
The trick lies in choosing the right blend of technologies and stacks that won’t create integration challenges or hamper innovation. At Shree Partners, we always guide our customers to adopt a multi-platform strategy, which we truly believe is the best option.
For example, a sound data lake strategy can include more of a “data lake house” approach, using products like Redshift Spectrum or Snowflake to connect various data sources. Think of this as a fully stocked kitchen complete with cabinets, cupboards, and pantries that store all the tools, appliances and ingredients you need to become a master chef. From this “storehouse,” you can apply an integrated data management strategy that enables team members to read, write and synthesize both structured and unstructured data to derive key, actionable insights.
And what if you’re a top chef looking to create that perfect “piece de resistance?” An even better solution might be to facilitate seamless end-user connectivity by linking BI/reporting tools, or your provisioning interface, directly to source systems such as CRM or HR, so data integration happens automatically behind the scenes. Technologies exist today that enable you to connect to source systems directly — and mix and match canned data sets within the tool — without having to build complex ingestion and transformation processes in data lake storehouses.
As you can see, simple data integration solutions do exist!
6 Ways to Face Your Fears
No doubt, embarking on any technology journey, whether large or small, begins with a million questions. The good news is: The way forward is not as complex as you might think. It all begins by stepping back and asking a few pivotal questions. And what if you don’t know the questions to ask? No worries, because a trusted technology partner can help you sort them out; that’s what we do best!
As you begin your technology trek, keep these thoughts in mind:
- What are my objectives? I always advise companies to identify key objectives first. You may think you want a lot — yet all you need is a little. For example, you may start by investing in just one or two foundational platforms. If you make sound choices, your platforms will “stick around” for the long haul. The worst thing you can do is change technologies like the “flavor of the month,” which leads to unwanted disruption inside and outside your organization.
- Establish a budget. What does your technology investment look like? A trusted partner can help you clarify objectives and create a workable budget. For example, I wouldn’t advise a company to invest in a data lake strategy if the needs of end-users and customers could be achieved by connecting them directly to source systems.
- How do I make strategic choices? Just like the chef who chooses top-quality tools over flash-in-the-pan gadgets, your technology plan should tap the solutions and platforms that deliver proven, time-tested results. Take all the time you need to research the right selection for your company’s needs — and remember the old tailor’s adage: “Measure three times, cut once.”
- Leverage innovation. Make the commitment to maximize every innovation your platform delivers. It’s better to keep up with technology enhancements as they roll out, rather than ignore them and find yourself playing catch-up — or having to make costly improvements later.
- Apply the “KISS” method. Keep It Simple, Sir (or Ma’am)! Try not to introduce too many new innovations at once, which only leads to unnecessary confusion. You don’t want those silos creeping back up after all the time and effort you’ve invested bringing them down!
- Embrace digital transformation. Keep in mind that choosing the right technology for your business is not a quick and easy decision, yet it’s ultimately worth making. It’s important to bring along key constituents, including employee and customer stakeholders. Involve them every step of the way with realistic expectations and timelines, open dialog and clear communication. These stakeholders are integral to executing each phase of your technology transformation plan.
Starting the Journey
When it comes to facing your fears about technology adoption and implementation, be sure to include a proven technology partner who can help you navigate all the questions, challenges and fears that go along with making such an important investment. At Shree Partners, we’d love to speak with you! Our forte is in helping our clients scale up technology — not only to meet today’s needs but to create sound programs that will set you up for lasting future success.
Have more questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Rajiv Dahiya, Chairman, Shree Partners LLC