Evaluating New Technologies: How Do You R.A.T.E.? (Part 1)
The “new normal” has given us copious new technology solutions. Business guru Paul Boucherle helps you R.A.T.E. your company technology decisions.
We all measure, compare and rate ourselves and perhaps our businesses subconsciously; it’s human nature so don’t fight it. Our own rating systems are often based on past processes, services, products, technologies and performance according to “this is how we have always done it.” Questions for you …
Anything change for you and your business in 2020? Your customers’ safety needs? Employees’ needs? New security technology to evaluate and deploy? The big question is how have these elements impacted how others rate you?
The traditional Technology Adoption Lifecycle by Geoffrey A. Moore is a good starting place.
Innovators: Very-high risk, potential for high rewards if you can scale quickly — 1% of systems integrators
Early adopter: High-medium risk, potential of increased margins — maybe 4%-7% of systems integrators
Early majority: Medium risk, competitive edge — 8%-20% of systems integrators
Late majority: Low technology risk, higher profitability risk — 30%-40% of systems integrators
Laggards: Virtually no technology risk, high profitability risk — 20% of systems integrators
Now, the “new normal” Technology Adoption Lifecycle category; remember you heard it here first, wait for it … Forced Early Adopter. Yep, the perfect storm. New evolution of technology not well-vetted, many different suppliers, some of dubious bona fides, high demand from customers, critical safety/security event and a very short time period to decide, act or lose opportunities. Whew, welcome to 2020 in review!
So how do you R.A.T.E. your company technology decisions? Here are some insights.
Rapidly identifying relevant technologies that have staying power vs. “flashes in the pan” is a good start. Your focal lens is your company vision, strategy and tactical execution. Without clarity here, you will be utterly befuddle by technology wheat vs. chaff. So will your evaluation team, which will void innovative thinking and opportunities.
Our industry has great marketing efforts by suppliers to hype products that may be sustainable or fizzle. Elevated temperature and mask detection is a great example. Worry about a short-term fizzle and look for a long-term technology, which plays a part in your evaluation process. Biometric access control growth is certainly a biggie with staggering growth projections.
Yes, the blizzard of new product information from so many sources can paralyze you in decision making to stand still or move forward, cautiously. Go to the core business case and not the frosting on the cake. Elevated temp and mask detection are immediate needs during the pandemic; however, make decisions based on getting out of this thought rut.
Start by realigning your own and your team’s thinking process about technology. Start with a simple evaluation process that engages your team’s key strengths, such as;
- Does the technology fit with the company’s skillsets, vision and future direction?
- Does the technology elevate your current customer’s legacy installations?
- Does the technology scare your team? Why? Ask the why question.
- Does change scare or energize your team, your customers, and you?
Change is a reality whether we embrace it, recognize it, adapt to it, or try to ignore it until customers ask for it. I like Steven Jobs quote, ” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”
Applying technology is a great starting point to guide your thinking and team guidance. If your business is all about green field new construction, then you must comply with new specified technologies to bid or design build the job. Scary position for so many reasons that we all have lived through with war stories with new projects. How did it impact your availability of management, technical resources and project profitability … never mind, I know that answer through experience.
The real question is what problem are you applying technology to solve? In these pandemic times, the immediate and apparent concern may not be the real solution path for technology. Will your understanding, knowledge and solutions challenge confused customers with better long-term improved security/safety solutions? Apply some of these thought processes to your recommendations in 2021:
- Understand your tolerance for accepting risk and adoption of new technology.
- Don’t make decisions in a vacuum; get your entire team working on this.
- Don’t depend on current suppliers to R&D the best technologies; they may be laggards!
- Create your own supplier rating system in five-seven key categories that are important to you.
- Make sure whoever you select will share risks with you in pilot evaluation processes.
Standing still on the technology freeway with your eyes closed is a good way to get run over! We will continue our conversation and provide the other two elements next month.
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