We live in an age of constant innovation. Look at the mobile phone, the next evolutionary step is going to be the foldable phone. I always ask myself: does this add value for me to warrant the high prices that these phones will cost? The same goes for our business when introducing new technology, what will it solve or which KPI will it help to achieve? But that is one side of the medal... will your IT ecosystem support it as well? Not only now but also later?
You might’ve seen it or perhaps even missed it, but our trusted mobile phone will morph into something else. That something else is actually a foldable phone. The mobile phone industry is unique in the sense that it is the industry with the highest replacement rate for electronics. For many people two years is an average lifespan for a mobile device. Doesn’t it work after two years? Of course, it does! But there are newer versions with higher spec cameras, more storage space and so on. Foldable phones are not new, we have seen them from different vendors like Motorola with the clamshell and Nokia with the one with the keyboard. But this one the foldable that I’m talking about is different. Different in the sense that the screen is also foldable. So, the phone if it is of course bulkier than you are used to (but that’s understandable) because it’s actually two phones with a hinge and the screen that, when opened up, resembles a small tablet. There have been a number of companies introducing such phones, most notably Samsung with its Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X Fold. Engadget has a nice preview of them. But these phones don’t come cheap, roughly in the 2000+ euro price range. Samsung originally planned to release the Galaxy Fold on 26 April but Engadget reported that Samsung decided to delay the sale date by at least one month due to issues with the screen and other problems reported by reviewers. Would you buy it? I would probably not because the price associated with a foldable phone doesn’t bring me added value in my work. But there are people who would buy this, in innovation terms the early adopters for whom innovation is part of their lifestyle but also her image.
A couple years ago market researcher Gartner qualified organizations wants to innovate in three categories: A, B and C. In this overview companies that were labeled A word most aggressive in implementing innovations whereas companies labeled C were laggards that would introduce innovations when a number of other organizations already have done that. It is just a matter of appetite for innovation, combined with the type of company that you are. If you are a pension fund whose goal it is to pay out pensions over a number of years you would typically have a more risk-averse mentality. On the other hand, if you are a startup trying to carve out the niche that you’re going to operate in your more likely to adopt innovations as a means of reaching that goal. The question of course is what kind of company are you? Quick to adopt innovations or more inclined to be not at the forefront of adoption (with all of its risks and rewards!).
Innovate to add value
Whenever you innovate you should always ask yourself: why? Just like my example with the foldable phone, ask yourself the question why should I do this? The answer “because” is not the right answer. I believe that everything you buy should add value. I do not buy the foldable phone because it doesn’t add value to me. That doesn’t mean that at a later stage, when perhaps all phones are foldable phones and the price point has dropped considerably, I will not buy a foldable phone. But for now, it adds no value. Same is true when you’re introducing new technologies in your organization or IT landscape. Why do you do it, what value does it bring? Keep in mind that today’s innovations are tomorrow’s legacies. Legacies that you need to maintain. If we have seen anything in the last decades years is that technology has the tendency to stick around, just look at Cobol. Let’s say you are a bank and you want to be the best in banking. Then everything you’ll introduce with regards to innovation should help you achieve that goal. Keeping in mind that different departments or parts of your bank might have different KPIs. Speed and cost reduction are vitally important for payment services whereas your customers in the affluent segment would rather have a great customer journey or experience.
Caveat emptor translates into “buyer beware”. When you’re looking at new technology or devices to introducing your organization you also need to look at the support that these devices need in order to be part of the complete ecosystem inside of your organization. With ecosystem, I mean all of the systems Enterprise Service Bus, API manager and Stream Processor, that make up your IT landscape that allows you to do business. Upgradability and extensibility is something that is key, of course combined with top-notch performance.
No one can predict the future (beware of people who say they can!) but the best guarantee that you can have is an open-source extensible system that will allow you to add technology and connections that do not exist at this moment. Take a look at our ESB selection guide for the criteria to select a system that does just this.