Why are CIO's/CTO's making decisions blind when it comes to the technology agenda?

You can't always predict what the market and your customers will throw at you next. Technology executives work tirelessly with their teams to get a hold of these insights. But, as with any journey, it is not sufficient to not only know where you are going to plan your route, you need to know your current location.

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Today’s market is changing at an ever-increasing pace, and organizations are under pressure to innovate to remain competitive. CIOs and CTOs in setting the technology agenda are betting on their company futures. Which trends are we following? What knowledge do we need to invest in? How will we evolve our product to match the unknown but sure-to-change needs of our client space?

These are no easy expectations to juggle. Under pressure from the C-suite and ensuring the software landscape meets the business needs heightens the necessity to make the right decision.

A good CIO/CTO will have a thorough understanding of their market space and what will be expected of their product and services in the time to come. It is a joy to read the stories of these visionary technology leaders that fully grasp the next disruptive trend and how to ride this wave to their benefit.

However, as with most things, this isn’t always the case.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you can’t always predict what the market and your customers will throw at you next. Technology executives work tirelessly with their teams to get a hold of these insights. Well-run firms invest a lot of effort in understanding their customers and how the competition is faring. In parallel, they evaluate new technologies and whether they will grow the business.

But, as with any journey, it is not sufficient to not only know where you are going to plan your route, you need to know your current location.

I have found throughout the years that many companies don’t understand their current situation as well as they think they do. Often the “Where do we need to go?” question gets far more attention than “Where am I now?”. If you do not know the exact state of your current application landscape then you cannot devise the best route to achieve your end goals. Thus, the lack of transparency and ambiguity leads to wasted effort, time, and resources.

From my perspective, I generally see three types of organizations when it comes to knowing your starting point:

  • Lost and wandering: Organizations have embraced a path to the future without knowing where they are now. Without realistic insights into their software landscape, they are hampered by unexpected surprises. These unplanned delays impact deliverables and competitiveness.
  • Lost but looking: Organizations struggling to understand and get in control of where they are today. They are investing in fact-based analysis to understand their current application and technology landscape. With complete software assurance, they can fully realize the risks and opportunities in their software landscape. Software leadership can now make data-driven decisions to build an accurate roadmap, manage costs, and effectively grow the business.
  • Aware and racing ahead: Organizations have a firm grasp of their technology foundation. They know where technology leaps are to be made to ensure the whole landscape supports future growth. They can quickly and decisively arrange for changes without unforeseen setbacks. They take big strides towards their future goals and follow the set technology agenda.

Knowing your starting point allows you to go for your goal in one straight line – or near enough. Nobody is perfect!

So when setting the technology agenda, take the time to reflect. Do you have a realistic view of where you currently are validated by facts? Do you have a firm grasp of the current landscape and technologies that your company is lugging around? Can you move forward without any hidden surprises when executing your technology agenda?

To remain competitive, you need to know both the business and technology trends, plus the technical state of your application landscape. Don’t forget this second one. Take a good look at your surroundings first. By tailoring your technology agenda directly to your current landscape, you give everyone a fair start to get up to speed so you can beat the competition.

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