Consumers love new technology. So much so, groundbreaking innovations are now expected on a regular cycle. Mobile banking apps, as a case in point, were once considered a cutting-edge innovation. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to operate a successful national bank without a robust app as part of your customer experience suit.
But while consumers go gaga for new tech, things are considerably more complex from the executive suite. Adapting to a new technology stack can be risky and expensive, requiring companies to find people with skills that may not exist within their own organizations.
But then again, no one wants to be a technological laggard. So, how to solve this conundrum?
The promise of new technology stacks
Here are some of the biggest advantages of adopting new technology stacks:
- If your company can successfully adopt a new technology stack early, you’ll be able to offer a unique customer experience in your sector. This will help you to retain and attract customers. Companies who innovate are usually rewarded with positive publicity and industry recognition.
- New technology stacks tend to be more cost-efficient than older ones. For example, look no further than the growth of the cloud during the past five years. On-premises software was once standard, but now companies recognize that cloud solutions offer greater flexibility at lower costs. If you’re still clinging to on-premises enterprise software, you’re leaving money on the table.
- In most cases, newer means faster. When you use modern coding techniques, you’re also better able to leverage modern CPU power. Changes to your product can be rolled out more quickly, and you can be more responsive to customer feedback.
- When companies implement new technology stacks, they open up new avenues of innovation. The tools you’re using constrain your product development team’s creativity. While it’s certainly possible to make incremental improvements using the same old technology stack, most game-changing ideas in product development require an entirely new set of tools.
- Adapting new technology stacks draws new talent to your organization. The best engineers want to work at companies that are innovators. By remaining on the cutting edge of technology stacks, your company can ensure that you’re not losing the battle for talent.
Innovative companies want to adopt new technology stacks early. That is often easier said than done.
Why companies use old technology stacks
With so many advantages to adopting new technology stacks, why does anyone stick to the old stacks at all?
Actually, there are many rational reasons why some companies are laggards in adopting new technology stacks.
While new technology stacks are definitely exciting, there is always a possibility that implementation will cause major disruptions to business operations. Then executives are put in the unenviable position of trying to explain what happened to shareholders, who probably don’t understand the technology you’re trying to implement. Sticking with the old stack often seems safer. That’s why some companies still use legacy on-premises software systems, after all.
There’s also a fear that a new technology stack will turn out to be a flash in the pan. Sometimes in the early stages, it can be difficult to figure out which new technologies are the real deal and which ones can’t really deliver on their promises.
The biggest reason why companies are oftentimes reluctant to move to new stacks relates to staffing challenges. Adopting a new technology stack usually requires hiring experts outside of the organization. That can be a major hurdle in and of itself.
Typically, engineers with expertise in new technology stacks are in high demand, and thus command high salaries. Some companies find bringing on red hot new talent to be particularly daunting for reasons that go beyond salary, however. For example, there can be a bias among qualified job candidates against companies that aren’t a brand name. Companies who aren’t located in “tier 1” cities like New York or London can also struggle with recruitment. Sure, they can offer above-market salaries to stay competitive, but that’s not exactly cost-effective.
As an alternative to hiring new talent, companies can also provide existing employees with training in the new technology stack. But this too has a cost and potential risks. Engineers who are really capable of one technology stack may not be the best fit for a different stack. Additionally, shuffling around your existing team too much can cause disruption to your existing workflows.
These problems leave companies with a tough choice: take a risk by adopting a new technology stack, or stick with what they already have.
The dangers of stagnation
Unsurprisingly, many companies choose to keep their old technology stacks. But this strategy (such as it were) also has risks.
Some reasons why stagnation is dangerous:
- Competitors who adopt new technology stacks will gain a competitive advantage for years to come. Your target customers may flock to them if they can offer a superior customer experience.
- Your company will develop a reputation as boring and old-fashioned. Just think of public perceptions of Microsoft versus Apple.
- If you keep refusing to adapt to new technology stacks, the technology you’re using will eventually become out of date and unsupported. When it inevitably breaks down, you’ll be left with no good options.
So, if your plan is to just stick with old technology stacks, well, that’s not much of a plan at all.
Reaching the edge of technological innovation
Fortunately, there’s a way to reap the benefits of new technology stacks without going through all of the associated headaches. The solution is simple: work with an outside partner to implement a new technology stack.
Outside experts can help you to implement new technology without requiring you to recruit in-house people who require high salaries. But partnering with an outside firm isn’t just about costs. These partners bring a wealth of expertise to your project, so you won’t have to struggle through rookie mistakes.
In today’s IT world, outsourcing isn’t just a cost-saving measure, but a way to access necessary expertise.