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Technology, Innovation and Futile Feats
Contemporary innovations are happening all around us

During a recent conversation with a CIO of a multi-billion dollar enterprise and his top executives, it became apparent that amid all the new technology advancements like cloud computing and Big Data, organizations are struggling to seek the concrete advantages in applying these technologies to their own real-world scenarios. Even more worrisome is the situation that occurs when an organization cannot leverage any of the already-proven solution approaches or services to address a specific problem or a concern and the situation remains unresolved over time.

These issues could very well be rooted in the way an organization goes about solving problems. Or they can reflect the inability of their service provider and technology vendor to identify the need for change and the implementation of the right solution.

Both of these issues lead to the same common and even bigger issue - an inability to map real-life organizational problems with the application of the right technology that will help factorize these issues distinctively. A greater concern is the possibility that the technology vendor or the partner you are counting on could still be using old methods to support you and is just "milking" the situation.

Situations like these are in clear contrast to the many technology innovations and evolutions occurring all around us. With the overall continual progress in new technology, day by day we should be seeing new ways and possibilities of technology being applied to organizations. But, taking cues from the above example, this may not really be happening, which in effect causes a dent - a depression into the natural benefit cycle of technology evolution. This in turn means that their ability to innovate - meaning ‘going beyond just applying the new technologies' - will be yet a distant dream unless organizations know or at least their partners know and understand what these advancements really mean and can advise how to apply these intelligently.

It's quite possible that in some corner of the organization, a particular group may see success in one or another technology-led initiative. However, to ensure that these feats are not one offs or not futile in the future, adoptions of new technologies like cloud computing, Big Data, mobility and social collaboration in an enterprise or an ISV environment must be aligned to well-crafted strategies. Only after getting these strategies right can an organizational innovation process move ahead successfully and in such a way as to avoid many frustrations.

(Enterprises as well as ISVs that need help in identifying these strategies, can take a look at PersisTrends, a report that provides additional and new technology area specific recommendations.)

With the right strategies in place, CIO teams can drive specific projects that help realize and enforce a brand new vision. Of course, organizations may look up to their technology partners to define the innovation model through org-specific and well-articulated projects.

These projects should be targeted to solve particular problems and have the ability to show measured value over time. This puts the onus on technology partners and service vendors to leverage existing assets and also not be blind to the present reality or future changes. As long as these projects are designed in such a way as to benefit both the business side and the cost side of the equation, they will bring more maturity and stability to the innovation process - and organizational feats won't be an exercise in futility anymore.

To illustrate the new technology benefit cycle, let's imagine new technology evolutions and experimentation on the left side of a chart; and ‘real feats' on the right side, while ‘possible organizational innovations' dangle in the middle. Whether you are on the receiving side (enterprise or an ISV) or on the provider side (service vendor or technology partner) - from the perspective of your current approach it's indeed worth evaluating where you will end up drawing the circle between the two dimensions in the illustration above.

About Jiten Patil
Jiten Patil is Principal Technology Consultant & Cloud Expert, CTO Office, at Persistent Systems Limited, a global leader in software product development and services. He has 15 years of industry experience and has spent the past 6 years working with cloud service providers, ISVs and enterprises in the field of SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud computing solutions. His key expertise is in guiding organizations for cloud strategy and roadmap, solution architecting for public & private application services, platform services, multi-tenancy methodologies, application enablement and migration, devising new cloud solutions, tools and IP products, and doing competitive assessment across cloud technologies. He can be reached at Jitendra_Patil@persistent.co.in / Twitter @jiten_patil

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