Where is the innovation?

Advent doesn’t start yet so it’s not too late to get a ‘bah humbug’ piece published in 2019… so here goes.

This past year at Deep Analysis we have taken almost 150 briefings with technology vendors, some great, some ok, some terrible, but nevertheless all interesting. Analysts have long been trained to hold back and just listen, a vendor goes through their packaged presentation and at best are asked a generic question or two. It’s how the system works. But not at Deep Analysis. We just can’t help ourselves, and a few briefings this year never got past the opening slides as our questions and push backs took full effect. We want to challenge you, we want to push, we want better. It’s an approach that is generally but not always well received. I’m telling you all this to give you a warning, a briefing with Deep Analysis can be ‘an experience’.

But the biggest warning I want to give you is never to use the word innovation in a briefing with us unless you really mean it and can justify its use. For all the words in the lexicon of product managers and marketers, innovation has to be the most overused and abused. Of the 150 briefings this past year I swear it has been used in every single one at some point or other, but its use has been justified in only a handful of cases. That’s not just frustrating, it’s disappointing.

So let’s be clear about this. Moving an on-premises system to the cloud is not innovative. Referring to your old applications as new ‘content services’ is not innovative. Making vague references to Blockchain, RPA or AI but not actually doing anything practical about the use of the technology is not innovative.

Our definition of innovation is the effective application of novel solutions to meet existing requirements, unarticulated needs, or new needs. It’s not that we don’t see any innovation at all, this year we were pleasantly surprised by the innovation we saw at RipCord, Guru, TSG, BP Logix, Oracle & Salesforce (Blockchain) and Microsoft with its new Project Cortex initiative. But these were exceptions to prove the rule.

Yet there has never been a greater need and appetite for innovation. Technology buyers don’t want more of the same they want new ideas and new solutions to old problems. They want those old problems to be reframed to be reimagined, they want to do more with less, but they also want to do better. Buyers are hearing all the excitement about the promise of disruptive technologies like AI, Voice, Blockchain, IoT, and RPA but are being offered a few practical options to pursue.  

Many years ago I studied to become an analytical psychotherapist and a word that I struggled with then and continue to struggle with now, is metathesiophobia, the fear of change.  Change is a natural part of life, but some are ill-equipped to deal with it. And if we have learned anything in this past year it is that technology vendors have a morbid fear change and are far more comfortable with the status quo. 

When I started my career as an industry analyst in the dot com era, innovation was everywhere – some of it was innovation for innovation’s sake, some of it worked, some of it didn’t. Arguably there was too much innovation afoot at the time, today it’s the reverse. We can only hope that a few brave souls will venture out and risk being innovative, that disruptive technology will be explored with vigor, that mistakes will be made, lessons learned, progress is made. If you believe your firm is doing something innovative, let us know, we might give you a hard time but we do it with the best of intentions as we all want to see improvements and progress. If we can help you to reframe and reimagine your technology roadmap, let us know. But whether we are the ones to help you or not, be brave and go for it. For the process and content markets are not dead, nor are they saturated, they are bored with the same old options. The opportunities are endless, if only you take a leap of faith and jump in there and try something new.

Work with us today to ensure you are a disruptor not one of the disrupted! 

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