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Technology Benefit Cycle: What Gartner & Geoffrey Moore Aren’t Telling You

Understanding the third dimension which is about the path of organizational benefits

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle and Gartner's Hype Cycle are well known in the industry for helping companies make better and informed decisions about technology adoption and deployment. Both have influenced companies the world over and through various technology generations. These models however address only two dimensions - technology maturity and adoption. There is a third and equally important dimension that looks to understand how new technology adoption is going to benefit an organization. It's about understanding the process and the manifestation of possible prosperity, the height of attainment, as well as the futility an organization can experience while adopting new technology. With cloud computing, mobility, Big Data and social collaboration, organizations not only need to understand this third dimension better (to reap the benefits) but they should also be well prepared to experience and manage the entire journey.

The Technology Benefit Cycle is clearly not about the ‘coolness factor' of any given technology; the emphasis or focus is rather on how much ground an organization can cover across the ‘Technology Adoption Success Triangle.'

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle refers to how new technologies are spread and get accepted by their followers and how these technologies are useful in making product / technology selections or purchasing decisions. In 1962, Everett Rogers in his widely read book, ‘Diffusion of Innovations' generalized the technology adoption lifecycle using a bell curve model (see below- ‘Technology Adoption Bell Curve'). He referred to five adoption categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

In 1991, Geoffrey Moore, in his book, "Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-tech Products to Mainstream Customers," predicted a critical challenge - an adoption gap he referred to as ‘The Chasm' within the original technology adoption lifecycle. This then led to his revised and widely respected technology adoption lifecycle model (see below).

In 1995, Gartner introduced the Hype Cycle. Since then, Gartner has used this graphical representation to provide guidance on the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to organizations. With a five-phase approach (technology trigger, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment and plateau of productivity), Gartner enables many organizations to identify an exaggeration (hype) from the real maturity phases of a given technology evolution to help them make better technology decisions.

Everett Rogers, Geoffrey Moore and Gartner have laid the foundations for helping organizations visualize and better determine their various technology adoption courses. Building on this foundation, organizations now need to understand and evaluate where their technology adoption efforts are moving to, in terms of achieving actual goals and transformations. Organizations that include this third dimension for the purposes of better understanding the benefits that can be gained from technology adoption and the possible dangers in the roadmap, will most likely enjoy better success and avoid futile feats. This added perspective not only gives a holistic view to the process of new technology adoption, but also maximizes the power of organizational innovation.

The "Technology Benefit Cycle," which I have written about before is a graphical representation of different phases and possibilities that a typical organization goes through before attaining success through the adoption and successful implementation of new technologies (see below - ‘Technology Benefit Cycle').

The four stages of the ‘Technology Benefit Cycle' are:

  1. Experimentation with new technologies - where the company's selection and (Random, Thoughtful or Strategic) approach towards experimentation will decide how far new technologies will be of benefit.
  2. Application of technology initiatives for organizational benefits - the determination of whether these are benefiting the cost side of the business and/or making a positive impact on revenue, brand and market share.
  3. Innovation on top of improved organizational characteristics for radical changes - where the innovation brings significant impact to the lives of internal stakeholders like employees or to external stakeholders like customers, partners and the society.
  4. Organizational metamorphosis (transformations) into a new business avatar (NBA) - the transformation of an existing business that disrupts the market or creates new business opportunities that set new trends or create new markets altogether.

While Geoffrey Moore's technology adoption lifecycle warns of ‘The Chasm' that must be crossed for any sizable adoption, and Gartner's Hype Cycle has one ‘Trough of Disillusionment' for technology to be tested and hardened to become mainstream, the Technology Benefit Cycle identifies three gaps (‘gulfs') with the understanding that these gaps can have a fundamental impact on how far organizations can transform themselves in the future market scenarios.

More Stories By 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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