Fast-growing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the metaverse have blown the world away for the past few years – even as short as months. The likes of ChatGPT, Bitcoin, Ethereum, as well as Facebook’s change to “Meta” has made the world excited and it has caused some rash decisions for some – whether investing or early adoption and use of the tech.
Sometimes, the hype doesn’t burn out for quite a while. Big companies and celebrities making millions of revenue on crypto and NFTs? Businesses would want a share of it and be in that space. Generative AI getting a lot of rave and demand from Microsoft, Google, and other tech giants? Organizations want them, too. Companies are rabid to get a hold of these shiny new toys, or at least have a share of the pie, without first assessing if it solves a real problem or if it fits their organization and industry in the first place.
This is dangerous to companies as it can put them in a tighter position, especially with the global economic slowdown we are experiencing today.
A classic example is Facebook’s excitement for the metaverse, pouring in North of $10 billion in virtual worlds and even renaming its company Meta. While the metaverse is a great technology powering the future, some argue that it is a decade too early. Now, Meta is pivoting again to the next shiny new toy – generative AI – before even realizing the promise of their last big move.
But with the rush of exciting futuristic technologies – how do we keep sane? How can companies rise above the hype and know how these technologies can really solve problems particular to them? Are these really what companies and industries need? Does it solve a real business need? Is there a viable strategy for success?
Here we will discuss how companies can take an intelligent approach to evaluating and adopting emerging technologies.
Many companies dive head first into adopting a new technology because of excitement, fear of missing out, or thinking it’s a great way to grow the business or be profitable instantly. They are mesmerized by how much success their peers get after adopting that shiny new technology.
But this approach doesn’t work and it is very risky and dangerous. These hyped emotions can get a business owner into trouble by aggressively heading into uncharted territory that they know so little about. Companies end up giving up fast and losing money in an emerging tech initiative, which is a waste as these projects usually take a year or two to show outcomes.
The key is for companies to focus first on a concrete and valid business problem that needs to be solved. New technologies are a means to an end; it is not the ultimate prize to attain. Emerging tech is only meant to help solve a problem, get something done, and achieve your goal.
Here at Gigster, many companies approach us wanting to do AI, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, or the like without really understanding why they want to adopt the new technology. Through product ideation, we help them to look deep into the business, assess a real and persisting problem, and focus on solving it rather than the excitement of attaining a shiny new toy.
The problem with excitement in adoption is that it wears out. So when a company expects profitability from AI or NFTs in three months, they usually stop, lose money, and ultimately fail as they are blinded by the bright prospects the tech presents.
But if an emerging tech endeavor is rooted in a major business struggle, then the company would likely have more success, and smooth and sustainable operations with the new technology.
The best way a company can ground itself is by gathering data. The more data, the better. Companies can use data to evaluate new opportunities before investing in advanced tech initiatives.
One example is by looking at enterprise use cases of the technology, especially in a company’s industry or even a competitor. Were the early adopters successful? How and what made them fail? Was the technology applicable to the problem they are solving, their type of organization, and the industry?
It is best to study the data available and see how other companies incorporated the tech in their projects. A company can also analyze its own organization and assess if an emerging tech is the right fit.
The more we study new technology, the more we understand, and the better equipped we are in harnessing it to achieve our goals.
Many emerging tech projects and opportunities usually require only a short timeframe before delivery – in 6 months' time or less – which is not enough to individually hire and assemble an in-house team. It is crucial for an emerging tech initiative to have an easy-to-setup efficient team that can deliver a credible project as soon as possible.
Using distributed teams like Gigster can help improve the quality and speed of work. By being distributed, team members from different parts of the world can work at different time zones – in the time and place ideal to them – which enables round-the-clock quality work.
These flexible distributed teams also enable risk-free setups where a company only pays for hours dedicated to work, and is not stuck with unnecessary talent once the project is complete.
Other benefits of distributed staffing include access to amazing global talent and varied ideas and expertise that can drastically improve your project. These can make distributed teams stand out as a vehicle for a company to realize their projects sooner with the use of emerging technologies.
Emerging technologies need a lot more time, even years, to grow and mature in their own dedicated communities, instead of going out in the wild and being adopted by the mass public. Going back to your roots and studying successful use cases is a better, more grounded and intelligent approach for companies looking to adopt a new technology in their organization.
New technology is exciting, and as humans, we are always seeking instant gratification. But it does not last. There is nothing that beats the traditional business culture of doing what works and sticking to it for a long period of time before you can expect any returns.
Two sayings: one, patience is a virtue; and two, good things come to those who wait.