Technology moves at an extremely rapid pace these days. New software, software stacks, hardware, and ideas are born and made ready so fast many businesses cannot keep up. As soon as the cloud was developed, cloud-native deployments became all the rage. The moment containers caught on, Kubernetes came into being.
This level of advancement in the field of technology does make many businesses nervous. But when the competition is willing to take the chance—and it pays off—those companies might see dividends from taking such risks.
But are those risks something that would benefit your company? Let’s dive in.
What is Cutting Edge Technology?
Cutting edge (otherwise known as “bleeding edge“) technology is exactly what it sounds like—technology that hasn’t had the opportunity to fully mature. Because of this, there’s always a high risk of unreliability.
But let’s not mistake cutting-edge technology with alpha or beta releases. Cutting edge technology could be software that’s already out of beta and has been made available to both the general public and business users, but has yet to be properly vetted by users. This type of technology exists at the frontier of knowledge and is often viewed as “game-changing.”
At one point, the cloud, containers, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, were all cutting edge. Now, they’re all commonplace. New cutting-edge technologies include quantum computing, deep learning, cobotics (human-robot collaboration), and neuromorphic chips. And, who knows, a few years down the line these may all be commonplace.
But is this type of technology a good fit for your business?
The Pros of Cutting-Edge Technology
First, let’s examine the benefits of using cutting-edge technology.
Revolutionize Your Pipeline
This is probably one of the biggest advantages of using cutting-edge technology. The modern business pipeline is drastically different than what it once was. Software and software stacks rule the business process and any chance a business can gain an upper hand over the competition should be seriously considered.
Cutting-edge technology makes it possible for your business to revolutionize the way your pipeline functions. You might find brand new technology can bring to life new features in your existing pipeline or even make it possible for you to create a completely new way of doing business. Those types of revolutions can change the course of your company in ways you might have never imagined.
Because cutting-edge technology can not only help to revolutionize but make your pipeline more efficient, your business stands to save money. Another thing to consider is that some creators of cutting-edge technology offer financial incentives to early adopters. So, by giving that cutting-edge technology a go, you might be given a discounted price. It’s also not beyond the realm of possibility that companies will allow you to serve as a testbed for free.
However, beyond the idea of getting software at a discounted rate, often cutting-edge technology is developed to make a current process more efficient and effective, which equates to improving your bottom line.
Improve Your Reputation
People get excited about revolutionary technology. This is especially true from business to business. When Company A sees Company B testing something new, it has a positive effect. They want to know how that new technology works. But more important is that your company will be viewed as a leader in the industry.
You cannot buy that kind of reputation. Nor can you ignore the benefits of being seen as a risk-taker and leader in your sector.
The Cons of Cutting-Edge Technology
Now that your brain is churning around the idea of adopting cutting-edge technology, let’s pump the breaks a bit.
This is the biggest problem with cutting-edge technology. Because it’s not been given the necessary time to prove itself, this type of technology often does the one thing you don’t want—it breaks.
Imagine you’ve deployed that brand new software stack to your pipeline, one that promises to absolutely change the game for your company. Upon deployment, everything works perfectly. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, it breaks. Your business processes may or may not come to a standstill.
Can you afford that level of risk in your production systems? Probably not.
At the same time, when those things break, you’ll probably find there’s less support to be had. The company that produced that cutting-edge technology might not have had time to create support documentation. And because it’s so new, other businesses have probably not had time to deploy and report their findings/issues. That means you not only have one place to turn for help, but you might also find help isn’t nearly as helpful as you need.
Not Future Proof
Finally, and this cannot be understated, there’s no guarantee that cutting-edge software will survive. You might have been sold a bill of goods that the developing company has big plans for this new software stack, but after six months or a year of usage, the company could fold or decide to pivot away from what they were originally creating. Should that happen, you’ll find yourself back at square one.
The rewards of cutting-edge technology are pretty enticing. At the same time, the risks are pretty frightening. So why would you even consider using unproven technology? Some businesses will employ cutting-edge tech in non-production environments. This way your company can see the possible benefits, without having to deal with the risks in a production environment.
Even if you decide to avoid cutting-edge technology, at some point you’ll probably find it gets used enough and matures to the point it can be safely deployed in production environments. So, if you don’t go ahead with the adoption, at least keep an eye out on that cutting-edge technology that piques your interest.