VR, AVs, 3D printers. There’s a bunch of emerging technologies, increasingly expressed in acronym or abbreviation form, that many businesses are keen to adopt to show they’re taking an innovative approach to modern technology.
Despite understanding its importance, many Australian businesses are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to digital communications technology, deliberately choosing to be late adopters, according to a study conducted by ACMA.
Are senior execs falling behind their millennial counterparts when it comes to technological literacy? Is early adoption more important than considering if technological solutions are a good strategic fit for your business?
To answer such technological ‘to be or not to be’ dilemmas, let’s take a look at what it means to be an early and late adopter in today’s digital climate.
Barriers To Technological Uptake
Slow technology uptake in the workplace often stems from a range of concerns among senior execs, including financial constraints, attitudes and risk. Or as the ‘Technology and Australia’s Future’ research paper put it: ‘Technology adoption can be substantially influenced by attitudes, from both business and customer perspectives. These attitudes can be ingrained, contradictory, and tacit. Collective attitudes – workplace cultures and norms – can also have a substantial influence on the adoption of new technology.’
Resistance to technological change, or technological inertia, is often considered a negative force in the digital environment, delaying and discouraging industry adoption of new management technologies.
Limited protection against poor technological investments has discouraged some from funding new technology, and the ‘innovator’s dilemma’, the fear that new technology can damage or disrupt existing business models, frequently feeds business’ resistance to adopting cutting-edge technology.
Does Millennial Equal Early Adopter?
In a word, yes. Millennials are rapid tech adopters, with user-friendly advancements in the past decade boosting Gen Y’s expectation that technology just works.
These guys crave new experiences and this sense of adventure informs millennial decision-making, often opting for experiential purchases. More than twice as many millennials than those in older age brackets, for example, are willing ‘to encounter danger in pursuit of excitement’.
The millennial generation also knows how to deal with problems that arise from new technologies, and see failure as part of learning and progress.
They travel much more than their older counterparts did, and business travel is an opportunity not an inconvenience. So understanding the mechanics of millennial travel is important in considering corporate travel platforms that support visibility, insight and analysis.
Are You Being Left Behind?
‘The diversity of technologies, and the diversity of motivations, requirements, resources, organisational structures and cultures within businesses, there are no universal prescriptions. The uptake of new technologies by business and industry is highly context-dependent.’
In other words, innovation for the sake of innovation has little value. Technology should provide direct benefits to businesses and customers and organisations should know what those are before diving in. Smart, responsible use of technology is more important to success than being among the first ones to use it.
So, as long as measured uptake is intentional and strategic, and not driven by inertia, fear or a lack of understanding, technology will have a positive effect on Australian businesses.
And while millennials have the latest gadgets, more than half of CFOs are investing in dashboards and analytic technologies. C-Suite leaders aim to understand and manage IT better, making sure companies have the right platforms to meet their specific needs.
The corporate travel management industry is a good example of how new technologies are helping senior managers trim costs and drive business development.