Are you chasing technology or leading the pack?

September 23, 2013



The amount of choices is staggering and keeping pace with technology-empowered consumers is perpetually demanding; but fear not.

emerging tech presents a balancing act

Emerging Technology is a beautiful thing. We can achieve more than we ever dreamed possible with today’s array of options and information. Whoever thought an organization could partner with the general public to tap Big Data to unearth Genghis Khan’s tomb, for example? But with massive benefits come daunting drawbacks. The amount of choices is staggering and keeping pace with technology-empowered consumers is perpetually demanding.

Like a pulsating drum, consumers, employees and partners are driving enterprise innovation from the outside in. As a result, executives can end up feeling like they don’t know which way is up. Maybe your business is moving so fast and furiously that you start to ask: are we using technology or is technology using us? On the flipside, are we a deer in the headlights facing disruption from a fierce competitor? Overall, are we acting proactively or reactively and effectively balancing dreaming big with playing it safe?

Most executives have a general idea in their minds if emerging technology investments are aligned with strategic business goals. But, a loose mental sketch is not enough. You need to take a robust look at the latest technology through a business filter as well as imagine all the possibilities with a greenfield mindset. Consider what you could do if nothing was holding you back. Make a commitment to expecting to fail and trying again. Engage in vibrant and verbose conversations with all C-Suite executives about whether or not technology is empowering the business or draining resources.

In the face of a parade of emerging technologies, you are challenged like never before to integrate a periodic review of emerging technology into your core planning, architecture and governance processes. For example, one of my insurance clients gave responsibility for managing the technology portfolio to the Enterprise Architecture function. Evidence that they understand they don’t need to sacrifice quality for speed.

Today’s relentless digital marketplace demands that you constantly engage in an explicit process of evaluating emerging technology for business value. You need to continually transition through the emerging technology lifecycle: take stock of what you have, pinpoint its position in the business ecosystem and analyze and refresh your portfolio. Acquire the skills you need to run successful pilots. Get back to building apps and being amazing from the inside out.

Recently, we asked over 1,100 business and technology executives in our Digital IQ survey how they evaluate emerging technology. Half of top performers—those companies that reside in the top quartile of their industry—say they have a dedicated innovation team compared to 38% of other respondents. Most companies assemble teams on the fly or depend on outsiders. Not surprisingly, top performers are also much more likely to say their capital investments in strategic technologies support business growth.

That’s why today we are launching our new Emerging Technologies blog. We’ve pulled together a cadre of thought leaders at the intersection of business and emerging technology to blog for you and answer your questions. We want to help you evaluate emerging technologies for business value and to navigate the resulting changes to people, processes and technology portfolios. Specifically, some upcoming topics include: “Catering to the Always-on Customer,” “Applying Discipline to Digital Disruption” and ”The Next Phase of Agile Development.”

As we rollout this blog, we want to inspire and inform you, but more importantly, learn from your experiences. What questions do you have about emerging technology? What would you like to see us address? Let us know in the comments.



Chris Curran

Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC US Tel: +1 (214) 754 5055 Email

Vicki Huff Eckert

Global New Business & Innovation Leader Tel: +1 (650) 387 4956 Email

Mark McCaffery

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader Tel: +1 (408) 817 4199 Email