Getting the most out of your technology investments

Getting the most out of your technology investments image

Posted by Tim on 16 Jun 2023 in Development,Business

Innovating and embracing novel technologies is a key component of effective digital transformation – so much so, in fact, that it’s often mistaken for being its only component. But this kind of mindset is often the reason why digital transformation initiatives are unsuccessful or simply don’t provide the desired returns.

Technology is just one piece of the puzzle, and even that companies can (and do) get wrong. By adopting a more holistic perspective on digital transformation and innovation, you can outsmart all those competitors that only focus on a particular aspect, and set your company up for long-term success.

To ensure you get the most out of your technology investments, you need to focus on three different areas. We’ll break each of them down further in this article.

Technology

The obvious one is the technology itself. The safest approach to making technology investments is to balance short and long term strategizing to ensure your technology choices are future-proof, while also providing immediate value / ROI. There are two key elements here:

  • You need to determine what your position and requirements are with regards to new technology such as generative AI, augmented/virtual reality, etc. Do you need such higher level tech investments for new business models? Or are your requirements more basic, i.e. enabling your existing model through the latest, most capable software and streamlined processes?

  • Once you’ve determined your tech needs, you need to vet and select the right technologies that will make up the technology stack that best addresses those needs. Make sure the selection process is thorough and involves the stakeholders who will actually be responsible for working with and maintaining the different technologies that will make up your core tech stack.

Of course, you might already have your tech stack implemented without the intention or need of swapping out any of its fundamental components, but you still plan on tapping into latest technology innovations such as AI and VR; so, the two steps are often interchangeable, especially with digital-native companies.

A lot of platforms and frameworks today, especially open-source ones, prioritize flexibility and enable a composable approach to adding and switching out integrations. If you know this is the type of setup you need in order to allow yourself unconstrained future innovations, it makes sense to start out with a more open architecture, or start planning a migration to a more open platform in case your current one doesn’t satisfy your needs.

Revisiting and highlighting an earlier point: balance short term and long term thinking when constructing your technology stack and adopting new technologies. Done right, this will help prevent newly implemented tech from becoming outdated (and potentially bloating up your technical debt), while also bringing enough immediate value to justify the long term investment.

Culture

New technologies mean change, and you can’t just force change onto people, especially if there are a lot of major changes happening over a short time frame, which is in fact very often the case with new technology experimentation and adoption.

So, in order to successfully implement new technologies and leverage them to their full potential, you’ll need to ensure that you have a healthy, innovation-focused company culture which embraces change and helps employees to do so too. In order for this to truly work, it needs to happen top-down, with leaders exhibiting this forward thinking mindset and investing in training programs and other processes to help employees achieve this same mindset shift.

With all the new skills needed to thrive in the digital transformation era, you also need to invest into learning and development, in particular the proper onboarding of new employees and potential up/reskilling programs for existing employees and/or those in more flexible roles.

Make sure you also enable clearly defined and meaningful career progression for these new skills and technologies. Not only will that motivate employees more, it will also prevent people from becoming managers just to get a promotion (and pay rise associated with the new role), even when they might not actually want to manage people or be good at it. In this line, provide adequate training programs for those that do want to be managers, to empower them to facilitate team members embracing all the changes.

Another important aspect of the company culture is a clear, value-based mission and vision. To improve and promote the adoption of new technologies, tie company/societal values to their investments. This is particularly important for the younger generations, millennials and Gen Z, who tend to be very value-oriented themselves.

Security

There’s a final key area that you need to pay extra attention to and which encompasses both the technology and the people aspects – security. On the technology side, this means prioritizing the most secure, privacy-focused technologies for your tech stack, as well as making sure to regularly update everything to the most up-to-date versions to minimize security risks that come with outdated software.

However, due to increasingly sophisticated phishing/social engineering strategies, technical security measures are not enough if you don’t also provide proper training to your staff to minimize the risk of human error leading to a potentially devastating security breach.

This is not just the case with suspicious emails that seem like they’re coming from your bank (or even a company claiming to protect you from having your private information breached), but also with something as seemingly innocent as GitHub .zip files.

The last (but definitely not the least important) point we need to mention here are the completely new areas of risks posed by advancements in (generative) AI. From entering sensitive business data into Chat-GPT to elaborate social engineering through tactics such as audio deep fakes, there will be many more novel business and personal security pitfalls we’ll also need to look out for as the capabilities of AI continue to progress.

Conclusion

Getting real value out of your digital strategy requires a holistic view of the key aspects of your business and technology rather than focusing on just one of them, or even each of them separately. Successful digital transformation is all about balancing technology and people, while staying on the bleeding edge of security.

We hope this article helps you maximize your current and future tech investments. In case you need some additional help from a skilled web development partner, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and learn more about how we can help you get the most out of your technology.