Many of the technologies we use in our personal and professional lives every day are changing at a very rapid pace. So, do you try to keep up and if so, how? Simple. You let go.
Firms often hold on to out of date technology because of the switching costs, insecurity about the best tech choice, lack of expertise, and a host of other reasons. In staying married to old technologies, firms make switching more and more difficult. One of the most pervasive technology trends where this phenomena can be seen is in the conversion from internally maintained servers to cloud hosted servers.
For many established firms internally maintaining servers has been a required business function. But as cloud storage has become more secure and more cost effective, moving away from their own servers to outsourced servers has become a more viable option. Small and nimble firms have been able to quickly take advantage of cloud server benefits because their cost (time, money, and worrying) of switching is so low. For mid-sized and large firms ripping off the internal server Band-Aid doesn’t seem like an option. These firms are shackled by their technology. Not only do internal servers become more expensive to support but as these firms slowly transition to cloud storage they do not see the benefit to either technology, and get stuck in a technology limbo of sorts.
A less technical example of this is balancing your check book. There was once a time when many, if not all of us spent hours a month making sure we did not overdraw our accounts. This included tracking the amounts for which checks were written and verifying those amounts against your bank statement at the end of each month. Since the advent of online banking and more recently online budgeting tools, balancing a check book has become an almost unnecessary tasks. Now it’s quick and easy to spot check your spending and determine what you may or may not have in your accounts.
Moving back to the realm of technology, firms are not only missing the benefits of cloud storage but may also miss the boat on the transition to mobile technology. This is especially important because of the high rate of mobile device adoption worldwide and the rate at which consumers are interacting with brands from across device types. All of this points to the needs of firms to rip off the desktop Band-Aid and make a quick (but intentional) move to mobile.
In a recent study by Accenture of nearly 1,500 C-level executives found that four in ten companies are aggressively pursuing and investing in mobile technologies, which they see as an integral part of their business strategies. However, the same group of respondents also reported that seven in ten companies face an “inability to keep pace with new mobile devices, systems, and services”. These companies must face the challenge and let go of old technologies. Like most challenges, it takes equal parts vision, execution, and expertise. Business leaders must identify the results from technology they are chasing, then identify which systems are holding them back from and find ways to leapfrog those systems.
So, what can we do? Let go of the old technology, including the checkbook, that’s holding you back. Accept that change can be good but our transition must be swift or else we’ll see no benefit.