Andrew Hookway: Technology has seen the most fundamental paradigm shift in a decade, and it’s time we acknowledged the benefits

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By the time you’ve finished reading this article, there’s been change.

There has been a fundamental paradigm shift in technology, and few get it.

The technology industry is vastly different to any other industry, because it operates at lightning speed with continuous change, improvement and adaptation.

No longer are we in the age of buy and forget. We are in the age of real-time updates & consumption-based information technology.

The reason for this is partly due to the rise of agile project management, and it’s creating a void between how firms think about technology, and what technology actually is.

Imagine the differences between the following services: building a house and Google’s search engine algorithms. When building a house, an architect draws up the plans to which a construction firm follows and within a year or so, the project is completed to the spec of the original document. You wouldn’t want to make many changes to the design if you can avoid it.

In contrast, Google changes its algorithms between 500 and 600 times a year. That means, every single day there is change. It is constant.

That’s not to say you can’t plan for a search engine optimisation strategy, but it’s very different to building a house.

As with any other type of tech then, the paradigm shift is clear, and consumers of technology must change their assumptions if they wish to succeed.

Technology is not a one-off cost every few years, it’s a continuous improvement cycle. We’ve moved from CAPEX to OPEX. From lump-sums to subscription.

The frustration we hear from the market is that firms are put off from investing because in a few years’ time everything’s going to change anyway.

They’ve missed the point. It’s going to change every day, and it’s supposed to.

Tech firms work using an agile project management philosophy, which dictates that projects must respond quickly to change and delivering software frequently and rapidly.

So, if your software providers are working on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis but your firm is working on a multi-year basis, then there is going to be a huge discrepancy. You will be playing catch up consistently and will likely begin to get frustrated that you’ve just made a reasonable CAPEX investment and now there’s something better out. Again, the point has been missed.

There’s a better way.

That way is to invest in the process. Get in sync with technology companies and accept that change is constant. Change is every single day. And it may be hard to grasp, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This will happen regardless of how we feel.

The technology game is fluid and agile, and we must have systems, processes and suppliers which match. Otherwise we’re putting round pegs into square holes – which is why IT doesn’t work as it should for many firms.

It takes a coordinated collaboration from a network of individuals to understand the complexity of change within any given area of technology. For example, Extech Cloud are Microsoft evangelists, and even during our projects new features are deployed, some of which can be game changers. Without an appreciation for the paradigm shift, and understand a firm’s total ecosystem, companies are making errors in their approach to deploying tech. We must take a convergent view, not an isolated view. How is everything going to interact?

The alternative is a more fluid, agile system which is constantly adapting to the company and the environment. For example, rather than paying over the odds for servers or using local clouds, Microsoft Azure flexes to the capacity demands of your business and security threats in real-time.

Not every few years. Real-time. As you’re reading this article.

There’s a different way.

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