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Not an easy choice

What makes a technology hot for adoption?

Bola Rotibi

Which programming languages are in hot demand? Bola Rotibi, Founder and Research Director of Creative Intellect Consulting, invites readers to take a survey which aims to identify the driving forces behind the adoption of new technologies.

Pinpointing the next hot technology ahead of mass appeal and adoption would certainly afford me the opportunity to give up the day job.  While being able to see into the future is a skillset that eludes even us industry analysts, there are certainly signs and insights that can help to predict the likely path to adoption and wider support.

It is with this in mind that we at Creative Intellect Consulting (CIC), a UK-based industry analyst firm, are hosting a survey with the objective of identifying the driving forces behind the adoption of new programming languages and to identify those that are in hot demand. The results can help those looking to drive innovation within their organisations through the support of key programming models and technology platforms to get better insights into the underlying dynamics that make for successful adoption. Take the survey here.

Bridging the gap between innovation and conservatism: making adoption a likely outcome

It is always a challenge trying to balance the adoption of new technologies and tools even those that readily demonstrate improved performance and execution and which are shown to be more usable. Although this might seem perverse to some, there are good reasons as to why a gap exists.

Established organisations that have made investments in a particular technology, such that it underpins key applications, products and systems, are loathed to want to change the status quo. Even if it can be proven that a new technology offers new benefits, the change requirements to begin implementing it can be considerable, especially if it is a relatively new technology that has yet to be proven sufficiently out in the field. Questions abide, such as the skills level required and whether they are easily attainable as well as how quickly the required knowledge or practice changes can be deployed within the wider organisation.

Organisations of all manner of sizes, style and types that have built up a client base to which they are delivering services or products have a duty to ensure a level of continuity and consistency. In this regard they must answer to a broad range of stakeholders made up of customers, shareholders (public and or private), employees, suppliers and regulators. Amassing any sizeable client base engenders a high regard for stability, and depending on the level of monetary returns involved or what might be jeopardised if a failure occurs, then stability will be an influencing factor to their appetite for risk. A high regard for stability can tend to make many businesses more risk conscious and potentially more conservative in their approach. The more there is to risk the more conservative the choices.

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The gateway to innovation

A more conservative nature and approach might suggest a behaviour or culture less conducive to innovation. However, from our experiences as practitioners and with our many dealings with organisations and businesses across the industry and market landscape we see that innovation can thrive even while adhering to the principles of discipline and stability.

How? We see many examples of innovation within organisations that set up small but separate development teams alongside those that remain focused on the core day to day delivery and support. These teams have the remit for investigating and applying key technological advances and practices in a small controlled environment with a recognisable and valued business or operational goal outcome. Taking them outside of the core working practices allows them to ascertain the value of such technologies, assess the capabilities of the supporting tools and measure and validate the improvements made against known metrics and goals. Free of the normal day to day delivery and support constraints, more focus can be placed on the solution or task at hand, allowing new approaches to be tried, tested and proven, before they are introduced into the mainstream operations.

Even if this approach is undertaken at an individual level, it requires a level of proof and validation against known challenges. The latter can be to do with a need to demonstrate quantifiable performance improvement, enabling a capability that offers greater value or resolving a business inhibiting quality issue.

Either way, it does require a good understanding of what matters to the organisation and where the issues lie with progression of either business or operational concerns. The winning dynamic for those teams or organisations that have been viewed as delivering innovative solutions and capabilities is one of innovation with a purpose. It, therefore, stands to reason that the outcome of innovation must be to deliver a quantifiable business or operational goal and a service that is desired.

Nevertheless, even armed with these insights, innovation will eventually require the support of the command chain and those responsible with owning the outcome whether that be a process, product or solution. Understanding theirs and the business risk appetite can smooth the passage of innovation especially when it comes to garner the support for adopting a new technology or programming model. Better, will be to also understand their drivers and goals. This will allow innovation instigators to line their ducks in a row to answer issues around skills, education and training and to provide proof points of success along with a set trial period for a targeted outcome.

It is why the ability to provide easy and fast access to tools, documentation, code snippets, training modules, peer forums and development and test sites helps support and drive innovation. Doing so provides an environment for theories to be tested and validated thereby providing the necessary reassurances that make for a more stable transition.

We also believe that there needs to be a level of maturity. For example, (not exactly tech but…) Slack is quite new, however, it is being supported through integrations with a number of other established products such as Jira and Visual Studio. That breadth of support and integration will give levels of re-assurance and confidence in the technology. Similarly, many jumped on iOS even though it was quite new because of the vast number of apps that were being built and the number of iPhones being bought. So, there needs to be something, not necessarily time, that provides a guide to the technology being around for a while.

Validating the path to adoption

Getting insights from across the global regions allows for insights that go beyond being purely qualitative. Quantifying the trends, drivers and challenges underpinning the path to adopting certain technologies and programing models helps to make a sustainable case for their acquisition and use. Taking part in CIC’s survey on the underlying dynamics for adopting programming models and technologies to understand what it takes to support the business case.

Author

Bola Rotibi

Bola Rotibi is Founder and Research Director of Creative Intellect Consulting and has 18 years of industry experience spanning engineering, software development and IT analysis. She is a high-profile and highly experienced analyst focused on software development technologies, processes and market trends. In 2008 and 2009 Bola Rotibi was voted one of the top three analysts covering the software development and delivery market and industry by the influential IIAR (Institute of Industry Analyst Relations) group.


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