Ravi is SVP of Engineering and CTO at Couchbase, overseeing development and delivery of Couchbase’s modern database for enterprise apps.
During the past two years, the use of new and emerging technologies by organizations has become a true lifeline for many businesses. Without technology helping services to continue from remote locations, it’s scary to think that the number of businesses closing down would have been even higher.
Over the last couple of years, digitization projects have jumped to the top of the agenda for many organizations. In a recent study by PwC, 60% of senior business executives cite digital transformation as their most critical growth factor for 2022.
Many organizations will be aiming to build on previous digital investments to accelerate success over the next twelve months. This covers the delivery of new and improved products to customers, as well as using technology to streamline internal processes.
But if overhauling the use of technology within a business, and introducing new methods and solutions, was straightforward, surely everyone would be doing it and getting it right?
The reality is that business leaders are currently juggling with an unstable global economy brought on by uncertainty from the pandemic and the ongoing supply chain shortages.
Change (and digital transformation can mean significant change) can bring about further uncertainty, contributing to businesses resisting this shift. But the alternative should be the most worrying scenario for business leaders: being left behind. The list of previously successful businesses that failed because of lagging behind or ignoring defining tech trends is plentiful.
How To Back The Right (Digital) Horse
There are tectonic shifts in the technology landscape on many fronts that are transforming businesses right now—edge computing, AI and cryptocurrency are just some of the major trends. Organizations must make a wise selection on which one can benefit them the most.
However, this can be easier said than done. Businesses must assess the maturity and adoption rate of a certain technology to help provide an indication of its potential. As we have seen with cryptocurrency, this process is complex.
Once the preserve of futurist investors only, the decentralized digital currency has grown to attract mainstream interest. Global research from Visa suggests that awareness of cryptocurrency is almost universal amongst adults (94%), with nearly one-third of crypto-aware consumers already owning or using the digital currency.
However, cryptocurrencies have recently suffered a significant downturn, losing $2 trillion in value since 2021 in what’s being referred to as a “crypto winter” by experts.
The current state of the cryptocurrency market shows how quickly sentiment can change. And while it’s important for businesses to analyze the wider landscape before investing in any technology, organizations must view these technologies as core pieces of infrastructure rather than trends.
This mindset will help foster a long-term vision from organizations, one that analyzes the true possibilities of using emerging technologies and avoids the associated hype cycles.
Watch Out For Regulation
Another key factor to consider is if the technology, or wider industry, is currently unregulated by governments or whether the use of this technology will cross over with regulations already in place.
Is there legislation to ensure that businesses or consumers can use the technology in a safe way, or is this something that is on the horizon as the interest in the area grows? This will impact the trust in the solution and, ultimately, its long-term success.
And this becomes more complicated when businesses work across different jurisdictions. For example, storing data in a multi-cloud environment for access across different geographical locations requires careful management in order to meet the different regulations on storing and using data that are in play around the world. This is especially important if a business is based in one location but accesses data in another.
Businesses can seldom control external market shocks and changes to the consumer or regulatory outlooks—but it’s clear that they will be left in limbo if they are not prepared.
This means that organizations must carry out due diligence before integrating any technology within their business, as a vital step to avoiding challenges later down the line.
By treating new technology as an opportunity to level up key infrastructure rather than benefiting from current trends (and preparing for this accordingly), organizations will be best placed to gain true benefits from emerging technologies.