Once considered a futuristic dream, artificial intelligence (AI) has now found its way into organizations of all types. However, to succeed with AI, organizations need to proactively adapt to trends, and as with any environment that undergoes rapid change, the technology space is also often riddled with fads under the guise of trends. Vladislav Maličević, CTO of Jedox, explains how to smartly focus on real trends in the tech space and prepare for the future.
End of 2021 report from PWC showed that 86% of respondents said that AI is now considered a “mainstream” technology. In the coming years, those who successfully adopt AI and machine learning (ML) solutions will see higher revenue growth than those who maintain manual processes. In terms of data preparation, forecasting and simulations, vendors of modern financial management tools have identified the need for better accessibility to AI solutions. The cloud is no longer in the sky but within reach. AI is a mature technology with a low risk profile that deserves to be widely explored. In fact, one in four companies are already using predictive algorithms and ML productively, according to a 2022 study. BARC survey
The computer industry is an extremely creative field, populated by great minds who seek to develop the latest and greatest technologies. While the field requires technological expertise, tools have sometimes emerged for themselves. If you look at pop culture, MySpace and Vine (which closed after a brief run in 2017) are examples of a fad without a lasting basis for understanding market demand or the ability to adapt to market changes. .
The urgency of digital transformation has accelerated since the pandemic, as has the pressure on technology leaders to manage the corresponding fallout with digital solutions. But not all technology is created equal, and not everyone understands how to tell the difference between fads that solve timely problems and fads that end up creating more problems.
Technological fads can open new frontiers for trends to emerge. To stick with the pop culture example: Spotify and Facebook might not have reached such fertile ground if MySpace hadn’t first inspired consumers to seek connection and entertainment on social platforms. A technology trend indicates a technology created with the aim of solving an identified problem or use case. In contrast, a technology fad is technology that is created without such meaningful intention. The former has more market potential, while the latter is likely to run out and disappear.
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Technology as a problem solver
The question IT professionals need to ask themselves when developing new solutions is simply this: what problem does this technology solve? If you can clearly state its purpose (other than its own), then you know that a new development is a trend worth paying attention to.
It is essential to understand the market demand. In the field of enterprise performance management (EPM) software development, the customer really needs a single source of truth. By simplifying the use of Excel (on which many organizations rely heavily for data management), solutions have been developed to integrate data from various sources into a unified system. Some organizations work with thousands of spreadsheets at once, making planning a nightmare without a proper system in place. With the growing complexity businesses face, intelligent data management is no longer a luxury but a necessity in order to harness the ability to adapt to market changes, create sustainable business outcomes, manage supply chain disruptions, identify new consumer behaviors, adapt to seasonal cycles. and more.
To quote Danny Washay, author of See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Successtechnology professionals should seek to solve problems that actually exist rather than creating a solution “in search of a problem”. In other words, if your technology significantly improves the lives of your customers, it’s a trend, and it’s probably going to stick around for a while.
The “best” time to embrace a new trend really depends on your risk profile and what is at stake. Early adopters, by definition, are more willing to risk being disappointed at the very least. I think it’s helpful to look at past trends to learn to recognize a good thing when you see it, so to speak.
Take the example of artificial intelligence. The term has been around since the mid-1950s. It wasn’t until 1997 that reigning world chess champion Gary Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s chess computer program called deep blue. As the algorithms improved, the technology also improved. And while it’s been around for years, it’s only been in the past decade that AI-powered solutions have been able to address today’s business challenge: We live in the Age of the Big Data. Being an early adopter does indeed come with risks, but as the technology matures, the opportunities to adopt it also increase. Even today, despite the proven track record of AI, myths about the technology abound (job loss, lack of control or reliability), which are essentially based on fear and risk aversion.
The dangers of falling in love with a fad
Falling in love with a fashion can be costly in terms of time and resources. Again, it’s important not to have a “tech for tech’s sake” mindset. Throwing technology at a problem without really understanding the problem or the capabilities of the technology is not prudent. It’s smarter to look for customizable solutions that, hopefully, can be integrated into existing systems and actually solve a real problem.
Investors can also fall under the spell of technologies. To continue with the example of MySpace, by Rupert Murdoch press company bought Myspace in 2005 for $580 million. Six years later, they sold it to an online advertising company for $35 million. MySpace was essentially crushed by Facebook, which launched a year after MySpace with a vision, technology platform and user interface that eclipsed its predecessor to say the least. Falling in love with technology can be very costly, especially with mergers and acquisitions. But to my previous point: Facebook might not have touched such fertile ground if MySpace hadn’t first inspired consumers to seek connection and entertainment on social platforms.
The days of dark basements where the IT department was located are clearly over. Who would have thought that even finance professionals would embrace AI and ML to make their jobs easier? An integrated approach to technology that serves the entire organization is not just a trend but a necessity to meet the urgency of today’s market demands.
In the technological space, revolution is the solution. Disruption is the foundation on which tech creatives thrive. AI and ML will continue to pave the way for better business performance. One day, it will be unthinkable not to rely on its power.
What common fads in the tech industry do you think we should all steer clear of? Share with us on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.
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