In the complex world of software technology, it's often beneficial to use best practices as your general guideline. The nature of best practice dictates that it is as generic as possible to give most people success, in most situations, most of the time. But, as with everything in life, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. While best practices are a good starting point, it's important to consider every decision with its own specific context in mind.
The same can be said when you're considering adopting new technology in your business. Yes, everyone wants to be cutting edge. But it's important to weigh this desire up against the possible pitfalls of implementing a new technology before you (or your customers) are ready. Blindly adopting tech for tech's sake can be dangerous for the following reasons:
- The technology is likely to be in its infancy, too immature to be useful
- You may not receive adequate support for brand new technologies
- Best practice guidelines may not have been defined yet
Before rolling the dice, you need to weigh up the pros and cons. Becoming an early adopter may give you the competitive edge over the other guys, but for reasons already stated, the risk is that your new technology may become a very expensive White Elephant.
On the other hand, procrastination comes with its own set of risks. After all, what company would be comfortable defining themselves as a follower?
So when is the right time, you ask. There's a fine line that you need to tread, with your readiness on the one side, and technology's usefulness on the other. Through in-depth analysis of your business' context, you need to decide whether the technology is fit for purpose. Another point to be made is that no technology, new or old, can fix a broken process. In fact, the flaws in a broken process are often highlighted and brought to the fore through technology. In an ideal world, processes should first be defined and tested before overlaying the relevant technology.
Over the last decade, many businesses – desperate to become tech-savvy - have decided that they need an App for their customers. Without considering whether the technology will actually be useful, whether they're ready to adopt it, or even whether their customers are ready, they forge blindly ahead designing their App. And in circumstances like these, the future of these Apps is often bleak.
So while technology has the power to enhance countless business processes, just make sure that you are doing things for the right reasons so that you don't end up making mistakes for others to learn from. At the end of the day, it's important to remember that it's not about what the technology can do, but rather about what you can do with technology.