Being Technology Agnostic as a CIO

One of the biggest mistakes I have done in my career is falling on the tech bandwagon and making decisions based on what I thought the inherent value of a specific technology was. 

The raw truth is that technology is nothing but a vehicle to get somewhere. Sometimes throughout your journey you will need to take a bumpy old dirt road while other times you can take a brand new highway to get to where you need to go, in both cases they usually point towards the same direction. 

Many organisations never fulfil the full potential of the technology they already have purely because they are not ready from a cultural or operational stand point to execute. In most cases technology is not the problem, its just a distraction. 

I remember when running my digital agency when quoting for a project, most of the work and cost would fall into back-office development, very rarely the customer experience would be the main priority, as if the technology was always more important than the outcome it is supposed to generate. 

Things I ask myself when becoming too excited about any technology:

  • Whats the skill set gap and ask myself how long would it take and how much would it cost to change technology?
  • Does the technology have a proven record, any success cases?
  • If something goes wrong, do I or my team have anywhere to go?
  • Is there any documentation? Is it kept up to date?
  • Whats the effort if I chose to move away from it?
  • Is there a simpler way to achieve the same outcome?

Fundamentally every technology that is considered to be cutting edge today will be seen as legacy tomorrow. As CIO, technology, no matter how sexy it may appear to be is the last thing on my mind when creating a product strategy for my business.