Let's talk

Contact us.

Innovation & Strategy GmbH
Lenbachplatz 3
80333 Munich


+49-89-416 126-660

Contact form

by Striped Giraffe Team
12. May 2021
Time to read: 9 Minutes

How buzzwords could put your IT at risk

Software solutions and their underlying technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. The IT world is constantly flooded with new hypes wrapped in buzzwords for IT managers to pounce on. Some see such innovations as a guarantee of success in an increasingly competitive and digitized market.

But does embracing technology trends really increase the chances of success for your business? How do you not get trapped by popular buzzwords? What aspects should you consider when choosing technology? We discussed these issues with Mariusz Święs, Chief Architect at Striped Giraffe.

Technology trends and buzzwords demystified

When dealing with corporate clients, do you often find them following popular buzzwords?

Mariusz Święs, Chief Architect at Striped Giraffe: First of all, we need to keep in mind that the innovation culture is putting more and more pressure on organizational leaders. So, it is not surprising that many of them are driven by the latest trends and buzzwords in their search for new technologies.

Unfortunately, they often force new solutions without a comprehensive understanding of what their total cost of ownership (TCO) will be and how they will affect the long-term development strategy of individual systems or the entire IT environment.

Implementing many of these hyped technologies leads to high costs. And by that, I mean all kinds of costs, including various resources needed to implement and maintain the solution. It simply may not pay off in the long run, as the total costs incurred can significantly exceed the benefits.

In addition, you may realize that an innovation intended to be disruptive to your business becomes problematic. For example, building a microservices-based digital platform requires a large number of DevOps engineers and other professionals dealing with infrastructure, automation, and so on. And here the question arises whether you can afford all these people. And additionally — how to get them.

This buzzword-driven evolution means that DevOps engineers are in high demand right now. A good one costs a company much more than a programmer or even a Java developer. Under such circumstances, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a qualified and experienced DevOps engineer.

And yet many companies succumb to the promised benefits that are supposed to solve all problems.

Exactly. Any new technology can be presented with a wow effect. Unfortunately, very often such a spectacular and often futuristic vision of applications is not matched by actual and profitable implementations.

Therefore, it is worth checking if there are already practical examples of professional implementations in your specific industry or in organizations with a similar business model for the technology we are excited about.

Are you saying that not every emerging technology is for each company or industry?

Yes. Microservices, for instance, are great for large enterprises that serve hundreds of thousands or millions of consumers. The modularity of such a solution gives their customer-facing systems high reliability, scalability and the ability to implement changes quickly.

Smaller companies, on the other hand, do not have extensive IT departments and adequate budgets for development. So, they should rather not consider this solution. Such a distributed system is too complex for them in terms of infrastructure and processes. To implement and maintain a microservices architecture, they would need to assemble a large team of professionals with the right knowledge and skills. Hiring an experienced IT partner is an alternative. Unfortunately, for smaller organizations both options may not be affordable.

For such companies it may be faster and cheaper to start with a monolithic application. And once the business has reached sufficient scale and the company is ready for change, the product can be migrated to microservices.

… If microservices are still hot then, as trends and underlying technologies are rapidly evolving.

That’s right. Let’s have a look at headless commerce. Everyone says that it provides a better and more flexible architecture because there is no monolith where the frontend is inseparably tied to the backend.

However, adopting a headless architecture requires moving many back-end functions to the frontend. Thus, the need arises for front-end components to make more use of technologies such as Angular, React or Javascript.

Unfortunately, front-end technologies change constantly. Something that was a hit two years ago, is already passé at the moment. So, when deciding on headless commerce you should be fully aware of these consequences. You have to be prepared for the fact that further changes may be necessary in some time. And this means new costs.

On the other hand, you do not have to be permanently up to date with all the new solutions. If the software you are currently using works great for your business, it makes no sense to implement new technology just because it is trendy.

Does this mean that persistently following trends should be seen as a bad practice?

Certainly yes, if one follows trends in an unreflective manner.

Such a need to chase novelties often results from a marketing strategy which involves creating an image of an innovative organization and making a constant buzz around it. Insignificant changes are implemented that do not bring anything of great value to the organization or its customers, but this creates an appearance of innovation.

It is even worse when the changes are significant and consume huge amounts of money, but are made without a crystal-clear picture of what you want to achieve with the technology.

However, keeping an eye on trends is nothing bad. Especially when it helps IT professionals stay up to date with new technologies and solutions, and gaining knowledge about what is happening in the market in different areas.

Trends come and go really fast. Some pass unnoticed, while others can bring revolutionary changes and give you a competitive edge. You should not miss the opportunity and the right moment to take advantage of it. This cannot be accomplished without keeping track of how specific technologies are evolving and without exploring information on the most promising ones.

What should be considered when evaluating trends and choosing technology?

Rather than focusing solely on the benefits of innovation, which are often intangible, you should consider some important aspects such as the following:

  • How does this technology align with the organization’s business goals and strategy?
  • How much will it cost to implement and later maintain the technology?
  • What skills and resources are required?
  • How will the technology integrate with other systems and processes in your organization?
  • What return on investment can be expected?
  • And finally, how difficult will it be to change the technology strategy and switch to another solution in the future?

It is important to treat trends as opportunities to consider rather than guidelines that dictate action for the organization. Just because you read somewhere that a trend will drive new plans in the next few months or years, does not mean you have to immediately start adopting that technology.

First of all, you need to be sure that the technology will fit into your business, rather than fitting your business around that technology. After all, innovation should support the business strategy, not turn it upside down.

But sometimes a trend or technology is so disruptive that it triggers a change in strategy or business model.

I completely agree. From time to time, global trends emerge which transform not only the IT landscape, but also the way we do business.

For instance, we see this clearly in B2B, where there is a growing trend of buyers preferring self-service via e-commerce platforms. Traditional ways of customer service, based primarily on face-to-face interactions, are increasingly being supplemented or even replaced by online channels.

B2B Commerce E-Book - Download

We talked a lot about limited resources. How do you see the role of an external IT partner here?

On the one hand, an experienced IT partner should be a source of information about what is currently happening in software development — which trends are worth keeping an eye on and which are not going to be relevant to your industry or organization. So rather than looking for information online, it is a good idea to ask your service provider.

On the other hand, the role of a trusted IT partner is to help you get answers to all those questions your organization needs to ask itself when considering adoption of a particular technology.

Our experience shows that at the initial stage of discussions with customers about specific solutions, we often have to explain what the technology is about and what its implementation involves. Furthermore, because we know the specifics of our clients, the scale of their business, their resources and capabilities, and understand their IT architecture and strategy, we are able to reliably advise them on whether the solution they are considering makes any sense at all.

But it is no secret that IT companies are instrumental in pushing trends and buzzwords. How does that affect collaboration with customers?

It is true. Many solutions providers, especially the larger ones, make their living by creating and marketing new trends. And it is all about getting their customers to spend as much as possible on IT.

They try to convince their customers with trendy buzzwords rather than with benefits that the technology would have for their company. This can be attributed to either pure greed for profit or a lack of knowledge in this area. Due to uncertainty, these providers decide to simply follow a trend rather than evaluate it.

Concluding our conversation, is there any advice you would like to give our readers?

IT systems, especially at the enterprise level, are not something that can be arbitrarily replaced or rebuilt just because trends have changed. Unfortunately, technologies evolve at a dizzying pace. I can only recommend to let experts evaluate technology trends before you invest huge amounts of money in some hot solution, only to find yourself among its precursors.

There is a saying that it is not the technology itself that makes the competitive difference, but how you use it.

Stay tuned!

    * required fields

    One click is missing...

    We have sent you an e-mail for data protection reasons.

    Please open this e-mail in your mailbox

    Click on the link in our email to confirm your email address. We will then provide you with the link on our site.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Nach oben