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Pragmatic Technology Innovation

The key to pragmatic technology innovation is not so much what is here today; the key is to see what is emerging and anticipating the future needs of your business partners and their customers. Watching Gartner’s Hype Cycles, attending leading conferences, and following blogs can help give you a sense of where the industry investments are being made.

Take the time to play around with these technologies; if possible, find a low-profile project to test them on. The important point is to understand what problems are being solved or what business needs will be met.

How does this apply to your business? Think about these questions:

  • Where is your business going?
  • Where are your chief competitors going?
  • Where are your competitors investing?
  • Is the business landscape changing?
  • Are there new emerging competitors?
  • Is your customer base changing? Is it expanding? Shrinking? Aging?
  • What is happening to your customers’ business model?
  • Do you know why your customers’ business model is changing?
  • What affects your market adoption?
  • Do you need to be more aligned with trendy marketing and product appearance?

Taking the answers to these questions into account can help you navigate the tricky waters of what trends to be aware of, what trends to act upon, and what trends you should ignore.

Today, large sweeping trends are influencing technology. These include the following:

  • Big data. The big data movement is transforming people’s thoughts about data analytics, data visualization, and content processing. Hadoop and MapReduce are becoming widely used technologies across all industries. An ever-growing set of technologies is integrating with the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and making access to big data ubiquitous. Your ability to understand customers and craft user-centric experiences has never been more important. Incorporating information life-cycle semantics into your architecture can enable significantly improved user experiences as your understanding of the users increases.
  • Mobile. Expectations of mobile as a primary application access point are becoming commonplace. Understanding the user experience within your application as being lean forward (highly interactive) versus lean back (consuming content) is critical to ensuring that the user has a great experience. This understanding along with anticipating users’ tendencies to multitask can drive your architectural approaches for the best ways to deliver content.
  • Networked platforms. With the rise of cloud computing and the proliferation of devices and sensors, platforms are slowly becoming more and more interconnected. Understanding the need to interact with users as well as systems can help drive the architectural layering and the secure API development that are needed to enable networked platforms.

The trends are constantly changing. The key is to be aware of them and to understand their ability to impact your areas of technology innovation. The trends tend to move relatively slowly, but your awareness of them and your ability to apply them appropriately to your business at the right time are critical to keeping your architecture current and relevant to the business.

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