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Minding the accelerating technology gap

Even if every company is now a tech company, there is still a massive gap between the early and fast adopters and the laggards. It goes beyond the chasm of initial technology adoption because now the assumption is all companies have to be using technology in some form or other to compete. The question is how well and how much are they keeping up.

That last point is especially pertinent since technology is changing so fast, exponentially. And the simple fact is that organisations simply cannot keep up, will never be able to.

By nature, the pace with which organisations are able to change will always lag. Expressed mathematically, it could be said that the pace of change organisations go through is logarithmic, versus that of the pace of technology change.

Why organisations will always struggle

Organisations are complex, made up of people, not always working in concert. It’s difficult to get a large number of people working in unison. Easier when you are a small startup, not so the larger the company gets.

This is not just about asking or even forcing people to adopt new technologies to get work done or be more productive. Often its a question of decision making. Getting the right people across the business to decide on the right technologies to adopt, at the right time, to benefit the whole of the busines is not easy at pace.

Why technology will always win

Especially with machine learning or AI technology you can imagine this to be the case. But that’s not only what I am referring to here.

The fact is the more technology becomes critical to the operations of your business, the more developers of technology will produce new technology to improve outcomes further. Technology has proven to be extremely effective in this area and the industry around it has started to dwarf all others.

The disparity between producers and consumers of technology is vast. Even if every company becomes a fully capable technology company, there will exist this disparity between those that are purely focused on the technology and those who’s business is otherwise and technology is a key enabler.

How to manage the gap

So the gap exists but the point is, it needs to be minimised and that lesser difference (relative to competitors) needs to be maintained. Those that do so will win over those that don’t. Other than the 3 points I made in the DanelDoodle above, here are some others to consider:

  1. Notwithstanding point 3 in the doodle, it’s simply not practical for everyone to be involved in deciding when, what and how to adopt new technology (the why is no longer in question). My point related mostly to the fact that in many organisations, IT still are the only ones involved and at least senior executives from other main functions should be. But you do want as many beyond senior executives involved. The way to do it is through specialists. Specialists that bring the others along. They do exist from both the vendor side and customer side – focus on these people, more on them below.
  2. Vendors: The people most often tasked with driving adoption, at least in Software as a Service company but increasingly in others, are Customer Success Manager‘s. These people have detailed understanding of how the technology should be used for the best outcomes and help the customer and end users gain that understanding too, ideally at scale. They are also typically very adept innovators and change makers, understanding what organisations have to do to be good at these two pursuits which is critical for managing the gap.
  3. Customers or users: Alternatively called User Success Managers, Champions, super users, etc. These are like crack troops that are also often at the cutting edge of technology innovation and change and translate the necessary understanding and capabilities for the organisation. They do it for the whole organisation and are often positioned or come from every function to ensure this. They help to diffuse the innovation and change that is required for the organisation as a whole to keep up.

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