As seen in the Nashville Post
Overcoming Technology Fatigue
Taking too long to make a decision or ignoring innovation are paths to failure
By Marshall Towe
Businesses continue to experience unprecedented technological disruption. In addition to the significant effort required to maintain a company’s legacy systems, IT and development departments are buckling under internal and external demands for new products and services while trying to digest a tsunami of new programs, languages and applications. Cloud, IoT, AR, AI, VR and managing massive amounts of data to provide real-time analytics have many senior executives simply throwing their hands up in exhaustion. Does this sound familiar? It’s been labeled technology fatigue, and it can quickly derail a company’s success.
The cumulative effect of this continual and overlapping barrage of change in technologies has left employees and customers alike increasingly overwhelmed, stressed and burned out. What might initially seem like a small mistake — implementing the wrong software platform or choosing the wrong direction on innovation — can quickly turn out to be financially devastating and have calamitous effects on the business.
Fear of such failure results in executives taking too long to make technology decisions, causing organizations to fall behind the competition and not meet customer expectations. Alternatively — and even worse — some executives take a position that it’s easier just to ignore new innovation altogether rather than embrace and deploy something new. Both are paths to failure.
While keeping up with everything is understandably tiring and frustrating, the reality is that the unrelenting stream of new technologies isn’t going to abate. The next wave will force companies to embrace the advent of 5G and even more advances in machine learning and AI. Businesses must reinvent their own wheel, build and innovate new products and systems and embrace new markets.
This ongoing change is worth taking and will benefit both employees and customers. Ignoring it can kill even a successful business.
Mitigating some of the fatigue associated with technology and innovation is a must. Leaders must strategically plan innovation, understand the uses of technology — both today and in the future — and weave this philosophy into their companies’ culture to ensure less impact on staff and budgets.
Three key steps in reducing the organizational fatigue are understanding the benefits, embracing partnership and budgeting for technology and innovation.
1. Understanding the benefits: Technology must be an enabler of transformation and not the source of fatigue. Clearly, having the time and resources to stay current is challenging. Many leaders also lack experience understanding how new technologies can apply to their own businesses. These are big mistakes and lead to a myriad of negative consequences. Access to a broad range of resources with knowledge of how technology provides benefits in unrelated sectors and industries is a requirement in today’s hypercompetitive and fast-moving business environment.
2. Embracing partnership: It has become commonplace for businesses to work with outside partners for services such as HR, corporate compliance, benefits and accounting. These historically internal and straightforward administrative tasks now require multi-disciplined experts to provide a range of services in an ever-changing environment.
Technology changes even faster — requiring an even higher and more broad-based employee skillset — and is just as mission-critical across a business. By collaborating and partnering with outside experts, companies can take full advantage of high-end talent without the long-term liability and risk. Further, the flexibility of fractional resources only needed at certain points in the innovation process allows a company to access specific best-in-class experts without the challenges of recruiting, hiring and retaining.
3. Budgeting for technology and innovation: Companies budget all areas of their business, from staffing to operations to marketing, to meet targets and avoid surprises. However, few companies include innovation in their fiscal strategy. Budgeting innovation annually allows for ideation and development of products and services across all internal groups and allows a company to respond as new technologies rapidly change a market landscape or disrupt a business cycle.
Technology fatigue can be devastating to an organization. The sheer amount of information and data that managers are expected to digest is daunting and nearly impossible to act on. In today’s world, every company is a technology company. This new reality requires the right understanding, partners, plan and budget to achieve the successful implementation of technology with much less disruption to daily business.
About Pilgrim Consulting
Pilgrim Consulting, Inc. is a custom software development company based in Franklin, Tenn. that creates digital solutions to solve clients’ challenges and elevate their competitive edge.