A new study has found early technology adopters are more likely to experience better business outcomes, including increased revenue growth and market position. The study also found that experts in business services/consultancies and technology firms are among the highest percentage of early adopters, while public sector and manufacturing leaders are the least likely to be early adopters.
The study, “The Digital Dividend-First Mover Advantage," was published by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions. It took into account responses from 672 business and technology leaders from around the globe, who were asked to sound off on the importance of the “Big Five” technologies—mobile, social, cloud computing, advanced analytics and machine-to-machine communications—to discern their impact.
The study found three distinct attitudes toward technology adoption: 34 percent of those surveyed were pegged as IT Pioneers, 35 percent were labeled Followers and 30 percent of respondents were labeled Cautious (among the last to adopt new forms of technology).
Nearly 60 percent of all respondents viewed IT as an investment that drives innovation and growth, while 54 percent of IT Pioneers identified technology as leading to significant changes in their business models. Only 29 percent of Followers and 10 percent of Cautious leaders felt similarly, according to the survey.
“Organizations need to be constantly innovating in order to stay ahead of the curve, and this study shows that technology is a key enabler of business growth,” said Tony Recine, chief marketing officer of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in a statement. “The HBR-Analytic Services research demonstrates that the Big 5 technologies are now viewed as powering growth, creating new business models and ultimately changing how companies can interact with their customers. Most importantly, the value of these new technologies lies not in what they can achieve on their own, but in their combined power as a holistic solution.”
While the overall belief in the need for rapid technology adoption varied between the three groups, a majority of all respondents said their organizations had at least some investment in each of the five categories, with most respondents citing adoption rates of more than 60 percent, according to the survey. However, respondents did identify several hurdles when looking to adopt new technology, including difficulty switching from legacy solutions and a lack of cultural flexibility to adapt and take advantage of new technologies. Interdepartmental collaboration on instituting new forms of technology remained the most critical aspect of adoption, with only 25 percent of respondents saying they felt “very involved” in their company’s technology decisions.
Consumers know all too well the excitement and dangers that come with adopting new technologies before they are fully accepted by the larger community (remember the HD DVD vs. Blu Ray debacle?) so it is understandable companies would be cautious in spending millions on new technology before the inherent benefits can be determined. However, it's important to realize there is almost no chance of reward without a little bit of risk, so sometimes companies need to make the leap to new platforms or solutions even without a proper safety net if they want to get ahead.