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Most companies slow to adopt new business tech even when it can help

Is your company keeping up with technology? If not, should you be concerned? Most IT managers and business execs believe staying current with the latest tech is good for their business. Relatively few decision makers, however, actually implement newer tech in their businesses. The disconnect between recognizing the benefits of new technology and taking advantage of them is consistent across industries, as shown in a report created by Capita Technology Solutions in partnership with Cisco.

In the Trends vs. Technologies 2016 report, researchers used both online quantitative surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews. The focus of the study was on information and communications technology (ICT) senior management level and above decision-makers in four industries: insurance, manufacturing, finance, and legal services. The online survey was given to 125 ICT decision managers. Qualitative depth interviews were conducted with 12 individuals, spread equally between the industries. Company size based on the number of employees encompassed companies with fewer than 349 employees (29 percent), 350 to 999 employees (22 percent), and 1,000 employees or more (50 percent). Participating companies were not identified, but since Capita serves clients in the U.K. the assumption is the surveyed decision makers were from U.K. firms.

Related: Three US companies expected to dominate the Internet of Things

Highlights of the report include recognition that keeping up to date with tech trends is important — 78 percent rated it as vital or very important. Overall 88 percent believe financial gains can be made and 86 percent agree that they can attain a competitive advantage by “responding to IT trends within their business.” So the surveyed ICT decision makers feel strongly that using new technology can directly impact their business’ bottom line. You’d think they’d be all over putting the new tech in place, right?

It turns out, however, that implementation lags far behind the recognition of the value of keeping up. The survey broke down tech trends into nine areas, asking the surveyed execs if the trends were relevant to their business, if they were being implemented within their industry, and more specifically if the specific technologies were being implemented within their own businesses.

Regarding big data, for example, 90 percent said it was relevant to their business, 64 percent said it was being applied in their industry, but only 39 percent reported it being implemented in their own business. Artificial intelligence was ranked as relevant by 50 percent, applied in their industry by 25 percent, but implemented in their own companies by only 8 percent. The Internet of Things had 70 percent saying it is relevant, with 50 percent citing industry applications, but a mere 30 percent use it in their own business.

The study analyzed why businesses were not implementing new technologies that they recognized could improve their bottom line. One of the most common roadblocks was a lack of skill in recognizing opportunities within organizations for the new technology. Other common issues were the perception of security risks, data governance concerns, and the inertia of legacy systems.

Across all categories, 82 percent of the decision makers believed tech trends are hyped by the media and at industry events at least some of the time, so there is also an element of mistrust.

You can download the Trends vs. Technology report for a further breakdown. It might be interesting to consider your company’s technology adoption based on the report.