Every IT department needs a tech scouting strategy

Do you agree that things change all the time? It may seem like a ridiculous question, but despite most companies agreeing to this, they still act as if they don’t. If you agree that things change all the time, then follows that the only long-term sustainable strategy and competitive advantage for any company and individual is to learn things faster than the world is changing and translate that learning into meaningful innovation. That is the only long-term sustainable strategy. There is nothing else. Everything else has a due date, such as a great CEO, amazing infrastructure, great customer relationships, a great product etc. All of that will go away at some point, but learning & innovation will always be there. This is why we need to take this seriously and why every IT department needs a tech scouting strategy.

With tech scouting strategy I mean that you need to have a process for how you always will be faster than your competitors in discovering new technology and evaluating it to conclude what role it should play for your business.

Why do we often see rather slow adoption of various great new technologies? One reason is that when a technology is brand new, it’s almost always worse than the older technology from the IT-department experience point-of-view. Partly because it’s immature, including the ecosystem supporting the new technology, and partly because of the habits of working that exists with the older technology. Therefore, it’s easy to dismiss the new technology before really getting to know it. However, as the new technology is built for a new paradigm shift, the innovation pipeline for the new technology is often bigger and better than for the old technology so that the value of the new technology develops much faster than what the older technology is capable of. So, instead of judging new technology for how it compares experience-wise for the IT-department here and now, judge it for it’s potential and start using it before any of your competitors to learn more and faster than anyone else.

One area where the tech industry is working hard to provide new technology is within the field of Mobile Web. The industry is far from done, but they have created some things that I believe should benefit most businesses. Just see how many companies have been able to disrupt industries just because they piloted Mobile Web Tech and a mobile-first mindset. Airbnb, Über and WeChat to name a few. Here are three examples of Mobile Web Tech that you should pilot if you haven’t done it already:

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) – Historically, businesses had to choose between building an App to get the functionality they needed, or a website to get the reach they needed. With PWA you get the website, but including the functionality such as the ability to add the icon to the home screen, an App-like experience, push-notifications, great performance also when off-line etc. As Forbes is only getting started with this, they are already seeing +43% sessions/user and +100% engagement (source). Another example is Pinterest who rebuilt their mobile site as a PWA and core engagements increase by 60%. They also saw a 44% increase in user-generated ad revenue and time spent on site has increased by 40% (source). Are you aware of PWA? Have you considered PWA? Have you tried it? If not, I suggest you do so to see what role it should play for your business. Read more about PWA at Google Developers and see more cases at PWAStats.com.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – 53% of visits are abandoned if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. AMP takes on average less than 1 second to load partly thanks to using on average 10X less than data than an equivalent non-AMP page. This is great for businesses. Wego, the largest travel marketplace in the Middle East and Asia Pacific introduced AMP and the results to date have been amazing, with 10X increase in page speed, 95% increase in partner conversion rates, 49% increase in search to conversion rates and 3X increase in ad CTRs (source). More than 1.5bn AMP pages have been published online already (source). Are you aware of AMP? Have you considered AMP? Have you tried it? If not, we suggest you do so to see what role it should play for your business. Read more about AMP at Google Developers.

Credential Management – Can your users sign in with just one tap? If not, why? The technology is available. Are you aware of Credential Management? Have you considered Credential Management? Have you tried it? If not, I suggest you do so to see what role it should play for your business. Read more about Credential Management at Google Developers.

In a world where Mobile is the most important channel to customers, and where learning & innovation is the only long-term sustainable strategy, is there really any good reason not to learn about these technologies, pilot them, test, fail, evolve and ensure that you are in the lead within your industry in building the future web? We need new tech for new user behaviors.

I meet many amazing people working with IT, and if you were to really decide to have a tech scouting strategy I believe that you can amongst other things role-model amazing user experiences on Mobile within your industry. Do it.

Have fun!

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