Innovation in technology: Finding solutions for today and the future
There’s a great quote attributed to Bill Gates circa 1999 floating around the internet: “If General Motors had kept up with technology like the computer industry has,” he allegedly said, “we would all be driving 25 dollar cars that get 1,000 miles per gallon.”
The story continues that GM apparently issued a caustic press release reply entitled: “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft,” and listed 13 scathing comparisons between cars and PCs. The list begins, “For no reason at all, your car would crash twice a day” and ends with the amusing observation, “you would press the start button to shut off the engine.”
Without getting into the middle of this alleged debate, there is no arguing that there has been tremendous innovation in both fields since 1999. In technology, we’ve seen touchscreens change the way we interact with devices, cloud computing revolutionize our ability to access information and recently, wearable tech. In the automotive industry we now have self-parking, fuel-efficient, internet-connected cars which can practically drive themselves, turning automobiles into veritable entertainment centers.
The global appetite for technology innovation seems to be insatiable, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Not only do these types of technologies open up new and exciting possibilities in our personal lives, they also fundamentally impact how organizations are thinking about the technology they buy. However, while the future is full of exciting possibilities, organizations can rarely afford to invest in the latest gadgets and wearable tech just because it’s cool.
Three simple truths that will help you innovate
When considering a software purchase, the IT buyer must make practical decisions to meet the needs of the organization today, while trying to ensure that their decisions will also be right for the future. This can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
After ensuring that the software application can meet your immediate needs, let’s consider three simple facts about your environment and three simple considerations to help you choose the right vendor:
Fact 1: Your IT environment will continue to be upgraded. In the future, you will upgrade to new versions of operating systems, browsers, and core applications.
Consideration 1: Ask the vendor to prove that they will keep up to date with your IT environment. How often do they release new versions of their software? Can they assure you that they will stay up to date with enhancements to your IT environment?
Consideration 2: Ask the vendor how its product has evolved to take advantage of these innovations. What innovations has this vendor made in their product in recent years? Is there a track record of “keeping up” with technology trends?
Fact 3: Your competition will increase in your industry or marketplace and your needs will continue to evolve.
Consideration 3: Ask your vendor how its software has empowered innovation and provided a competitive edge for other companies like yours. Will this software be easy to change as the needs of your organization evolve? What do existing customers in your industry say about this vendor?
These are just three things to think about to help you make the right decision for now, and the future.
Innovation best practice: Keep it constant
Hyland is a great example. Our newest release further solidifies our product, OnBase, as the most advanced, flexible and feature-rich platform for content and process management solutions. OnBase 15 includes new innovations, significant advancements in our most widely used modules and close to 2,000 enhancements – the majority of which were driven by customer requests. Technology is constantly changing, so it’s important that the software platforms you depend on are constantly evolving and can integrate with the newest versions of your other important systems.
Thinking back to the quote from above attributed to Bill Gates, this certainly inspires a lot of thinking about the speed of innovation. While it is undoubtedly entertaining reading, a little online digging into this reveals that it is nothing more than an urban legend, with some sources even swapping out GM for Ford. It turns out that maybe this infamous exchange didn’t really happen after all.
One quote Bill Gates actually did say at the launch of Windows 98 on June 25th, 1998, in San Francisco was “The PC and the internet are going to be fundamental. They’re not there yet, but we’re certainly on a course to do that, and it will be just like the automobile.”
In this case, Mr. Gates was certainly right. Although whether he meant that cars would one day drive in the cloud remains to be seen.