Business Technology

Five ways to stay ahead of tech innovation

4 min read

10 July 2015

Jason Cartwright, founder and CEO of Potato, explains which trends small business leaders should be looking at if they hope to cope with ever-changing pace of technology.

It’s been only eight years since Apple released its first iPhone, Uber is only five, Airbnb is nine and Whatsapp was founded a mere six years ago – yet each have singlehandedly revolutionised countless industries and businesses.

Companies have seen huge infrastructure changes over the last two decades thanks to the frenetic pace of tech innovation. And, as the digitisation of everything continues to roll out, disruption is set to increase even further.

So, in this age of constant technological change, how can businesses cope? Here are five distinct trends companies should be taking advantage of to stay ahead of the curve.

1) Embrace the cloud

Moving everything you have to the cloud, rather than relying on “internal” servers and services has caused a massive shift in thinking around how computing is done. For starters, organisations whose job it is to run a massive quantity of servers, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, are more than likely going to be able to do it better than your company can. 

Google alone probably employs more security researchers than almost any other organisation. Utilise the innovation of the cloud to remove overheads and create the time and space for what you do best.

2) Mobile everything

Think about how you personally consume web content, be it Facebook or YouTube videos. You probably do this via your mobile device far more frequently than you do via a traditional computer. Why should your organisation’s internal tools be any different? Flexible mobile web frameworks can allow your company’s tools to be used on mobile, tablet and other devices, enabling your teams to work with more freedom.

3) Empower developers

The gradual move of infrastructure to the cloud means good developers are increasingly in demand for businesses. The best developers love to work at the cusp of new technologies, and will be fascinated by emerging industry innovations. Work with the right developers, retain them, and keep them engaged and you’ll be giving yourself a serious competitive advantage. 

4) If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it

Collect as much data as you can and interrogate it cleverly to better understand your customers, and your business. Create feedback loops so that data can be updated and utilised ad infinitum to ensure you’re always steering towards efficiency, and always have the most accurate picture of what’s really going on. Tesla, the electric car maker, for example, continually use data collected from their cars to improve the functioning of their vehicles and services, and to guide future development.

5) Be agile (with a small “a”) and don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Staying with and ideally ahead of the technical curve isn’t without its risks. Sometimes decisions that seemed sensible and straightforward at the time are quickly undermined as new innovations emerge and dominate. Don’t be afraid to admit you took the wrong path, and make the necessary changes. 

Try to be objective and forensic in assessing your projects following launches, so that you can understand the outcomes of earlier decisions and better guide the next project you get to work on.

Jason Cartwright is founder and CEO of Potato.