When you have too much information about innovation.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the endless stream of technology innovation? You’re not alone. It’s easy to become confused about which new technologies or trends are useful and which are passing fads or too immature.

At QAD, we constantly sift through emerging technologies to determine and eventually deploy innovations that benefit customers. Our technology investment decision-making challenge is of particular importance because many thousands of manufacturing sites depend on us being right. It also directly impacts QAD because we support our customers’ mission critical ERP in our QAD Cloud; in essence we have become our own largest customer.

Our tech decision-making challenge is further complicated by the solutions we offer, which includes full-featured ERP and several related solutions. When you implement QAD Enterprise Applications in the QAD Cloud, known as QAD Cloud ERP, you deploy an entire solution stack, including hardware, network and software, supported by cloud services. Our scope of technology trend watching, therefore, covers a full spectrum of possibilities.

Searching For Innovation And The Balance Point

QAD discovers emerging trends by closely watching technology media, bloggers, industry analysts, universities and the startup community for ideas. Not all new technologies, however, eventually reach customers. Just because, for example, an analyst thinks a new technology is cool does not qualify the technology for use in the highly regulated manufacturing industry.

Before the rise of the internet and mobile computing, enterprise technologies often influenced innovations for consumers. Today, however, consumer technologies typically drive innovations for enterprises.

QAD’s viewpoint is that technology trends act like a swinging pendulum. The extremes of the swing represent technology hype. Predicting and driving toward the balance point in the middle is the best way to service our customers − by protecting them from misleading hype and low ROI technology.

Though we obtain early innovation ideas from media, analysts, universities and startups, we also watch open technology and industry bodies which act as predictors of technology maturation. Organizations like the IEEE, ISO, NIST, the Object Management Group, OpenStack and the W3C not only set standards but tend to work on standards reaching wide market acceptance.

QAD pays close attention to the often overlooked human behavioral aspect of technology adoption. We try to spot situations where people and organizations face common problems and watch how and why they are investing to solve the problems. Often this surfaces in social oriented systems like open source development and standards committees – they tend to be groups of people spending their own time on something they feel is important. There is an element of natural selection in technology innovation where people will invest time if they believe in the value of the outcome.

Do you find yourself wading through the seemingly endless new technology coming your way?

How do you weed out the fads from the useful trends? Learn more in my recent white paper.

Tony Winter
With over 20 years in the ERP industry, Tony is responsible for driving QAD’s long-term technology, architecture and product release strategies. When he’s not leading the technology charge at QAD, you can find him spending time with his wife and four children. He also builds software-controlled devices and has a large collection of metal cast puzzles.