If you don't need it - Don't buy it!

Thoughts on the adoption of new technologies.

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November 11, 2002

I am regarded by most people that know me as being something of an expert on high technology issues.  While I appreciate their confidence in my ability, I believe that my real strength lies in my understanding of when a technology should be adopted and when it shouldn’t.

Believe me when I tell you: “Just because something is a higher technology, that doesn’t mean that it is a better technology.”. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

In the high pressure, vendor saturated world, that buyers live in, it is imperative that buyers understand what is the level of technology that is optimum for their particular environment. That is, what is the appropriate technology for their particular needs?

Here are some basic question that I would use to determine if a given technology is the appropriate one for a client.

  • Is the current technology working well for your needs?
  • Was the need for a change in technology created by a “sales pitch” or from within the company?
  • Does the client need an upgrade in technology based on current needs?
  • Does the client need an upgrade in technology based on foreseeable needs?
  • Can the client afford to make a bad decision and pick the wrong technology?
  • What do the users of the existing technology think about the current technology?
  • What do the users of the existing technology think about the proposed technology?
  • Is this the right time for a change in technology?
  • Is the technology changing rapidly?
  • Has the technology that is being considered been widely proven in the field?
  • Is the technology proprietary?
  • Is a limited trial such as a “proof of concept” the way to go?
  • Other than the vendor, is there wide support in industry for the technology?
  • Is the technology scaleable and extensible? Affordably? By many vendors?
  • If the technology is Information Technology (IT), does it adhere to “Open Standards” or does it use Proprietary Standards?
  • Is Moore’s Law in play?
  • Will the new technology improve the overall reliability of your production line or service?
  • Will the new technology improve the quality of your product or service?
  • Will the new technology lower the total cost of your product or service?
  • Is the vendor prepared to accept financial penalties for techno-glitches?
  • If the higher technology is adopted, will it cause a serious labour disruption in the facility?
  • Does management understand that changes in technology require both patience and financial resources?

Looking at the above list, the reader is forgiven for believing that I am against technological change. The reality is that I don’t believe in change for the sake of change, I believe in technological change if and only if it will make a demonstrably positive difference for my client.

The reader is welcome to contact me if they would like an analysis performed of the technological opportunities that are presented to them from their perspective and not that of a vendor’s.

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