CIOs and technology leaders all grapple with overall strategy when it comes to IT. Specifically, they grapple with the Next Big Thing. It’s their job to keep the company on a forward path and even more so a sustainable path that does not lead to premature technology dead-ends.
Moreover, CIOs and technology leaders are expected to be familiar with and recommend the latest technology from outsiders and non-technical executive leadership. Even among peers, CIOs are expected to be the vanguard of new technology. There is no greater shame in technology than to be seen as being behind or not using what conventional wisdom deems to be the latest technology. The rapid advance of some technologies such as smartphones adds to the sense of urgency, that if you are not using the latest solution and using it right now, somehow the company suffers.
So where does that leave CIOs when they are bombarded with questions about edge computing, quantum computing, 5G, and blockchain? There is a strategy that can work without leading the enterprise onto the thin ice where bleeding edge technologies dwell.
First, for every CIO it is important that they actually know the latest trends and have a strong understanding of not only the concepts involved but also how they apply to their particular enterprise. That means digging beyond the hype and looking at some of the nuts and bolts of implementation.
CIOs need to implement technology when the time is right
The truth is that implementing a dead-end technology or one where the use case turns out to be much different than the initial hype is far more costly for the enterprise than the fear of missing out. Regardless of claims from vendors and service providers, real game-changing technology that can revolutionize an enterprise is pretty rare.
Most technologies that are touted as game changers are actually small to medium advances in existing technology. The trick is to remember that vendors and manufacturers don’t prefer smaller, safer advances over time.
For most enterprise CIOs the smart route is to implement once technologies have been more widely deployed, use cases are solid, and the technology has a clearer future. Always go back to the business use case, both today, next year and in five years. New technologies will still be beneficial even if an enterprise is not a day-one adopter.
Smart enterprise CIOs and technical managers utilize modern technology but stop just short of the bleeding edge, protecting the smooth operation of the enterprise and hedging against technological dead ends. Pacing is everything. Keep IT up to date but not betting the company based on how many column inches and tweets the latest technology racks up.