Constant headlines on the impact of technology in business combined with a rapidly changing marketplace can make it difficult for business leaders who aren’t experts in tech. It’s important to ensure your company and team have all the right tech tools to maximize productivity, and relying on outdated tech could lead to your business falling behind. Still, chasing “the latest thing” simply out of fear of missing out can be counterproductive—and costly.
Turning to experienced tech experts can help you cut through the noise and identify the tech tools and practices that are outdated, overrated or not quite ready for prime time (at least for you and your business). Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss tech investments that it might be wise to walk away from.
Members of Forbes Technology Council discuss business tech expenditures that may not be worth the investment.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Acquired Intellectual Property
Preexisting applications that have been acquired and rebranded by large companies typically do not receive much dedicated attention and resources post-acquisition. These technologies thus lack the agility to keep up with newer, more modular applications built for scale and flexibility. – Chris Shalchi, Mavecca Group
2. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is an investment that needs to be evaluated and monitored closely. It’s flourished as a training aid and has been even more successful in gaming applications, but there’s still a lot to be learned about how to incorporate it into our day-to-day business. The focus of VR should be not on where it is and how to use it but on the imagination and thought leadership around how it will evolve. – Mark Griffis, Aviture
3. On-Premises Hosting And Data Centers
An investment in on-premises hosting and data centers can be a waste of money nowadays, because cloud technologies provide significant advantages, such as usage-based pricing and the capacity to easily scale up and down. In addition, your downtime risks will be near-zero in comparison with on-premises infrastructure. Migration to the cloud from the on-premises model requires time, so the earlier you start, the better. – Dmitry Baraishuk, Belitsoft
4. New Web Portals
Depending on the industry they’re in, I still see tech leaders spending time and treasure driving potential clients to new Web portals instead of apps. That may work for some companies, but many organizations can skip the robust website (other than simple marketing sites) and go straight to a great, user-friendly app. – Susan Lang, XIL Health, LLC
5. ‘Traditional’ E-Commerce Technologies
Technology is rapidly evolving, and there’s no need to duplicate existing products. It makes sense to step ahead and deliver an uncommon solution. Additionally, you should continue to constantly improve your solution and issue new releases according to both users’ needs and new technologies. For example, instead of following the usual e-commerce approaches, let customers view and try on items using 3D models and augmented and virtual reality technologies. – Slava Podmurnyi, Visartech Inc.
6. Artificial Intelligence
There is a lot of hype about artificial intelligence and machine learning today. Some products claim AI does everything for them, which simply isn’t true. Many use AI as a buzzword to lure nontechnical people in. I would recommend not jumping on the bandwagon of AI until you know exactly what you are buying and what problem an AI-driven product will solve for you. – Nikolay Chernavsky, ISSQUARED Inc
7. Inflexible Automation Technologies
Leaders should assume that market conditions will change rapidly, and they must immunize their organizations to make them more resilient. Flexibility is key: Companies must be able to respond to broken supply chains, tightening labor markets, shifting consumer demand or climate-based disruptions. Traditional tech misses the mark. Newer automation technologies are software-defined, allowing real-time adjustments. – Florian Pestoni, InOrbit, Inc.
8. Completely New Software Suites
Often it’s completely unnecessary—not to mention a giant headache and point of contention with the staff—to upgrade or migrate to new technology. So rather than migrating to new technology, see if there is an application programming interface you can use. An API can function as a built-in upgrade that extends the functionality of your existing software suite, giving you added functionality in a system that your team already knows. – Joanna Riley, Censia Talent Intelligence
Unless a business is crystal clear on real-world, non-hypothetical, tangible use cases, it is better to stay away from investing in blockchain technology. Blockchain isn’t going to be rendered obsolete any time soon, but it’s highly likely businesses embracing blockchain with the mindset “let’s get the framework now and build a use case later” are going to lose out through what Gartner calls “blockchain fatigue.” – Pramod Konandur Prabhakar, Pelatro PLC
10. Internal Tech Teams
Achieving tech-related goals through internal means only is one of the biggest mistakes nontech leaders make. I support the initial problem investigation being done by businesspeople. However, finding the right solution for your business needs can be done more effectively with the help of tech experts. Enlist a trusted tech partner and gain tech experience, and only then consider the need for an internal tech team. – Nadya Knysh, a1qa
11. Traditional Systems Integration
One of the biggest tech investments that companies are making today is traditional systems integration. This form of IT service is touted as a cure-all for most business problems. But in reality, these are expensive Band-Aids that do little to truly transform an organization. Instead, companies should consider investing in a standardized platform with good, service-oriented architecture principles. – Patrick Zhang, Protecht Inc
12. Comprehensive Cloud Migration
I fully believe in the benefits of moving certain functions to the cloud. However, not everything should be moved off premises. Those businesses that are over-indexed on centralizing data will end up revisiting their infrastructure approach. A better investment is to install flexible infrastructure and foundational software that allows computing to move where it needs to be based on service-level agreements. – Stacey Shulman, Intel Corporation
13. Nonscalable Software
One mistake I see many new business owners and marketers making is not considering the scale of their company when buying software. As a result, many have to pivot their strategies and invest in brand-new software while actively growing. I suggest buying scalable software so you don’t have to worry about your tech becoming obsolete after generating a few new customers. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
14. Future-Forward Mobile Software
Mobile software is one of the faster-moving technologies. We have tried to stay ahead of the curve by investing in future-oriented software such as Flutter. The plan is to “grow into the software”. But the drawback is that few developers are proficient with Flutter, and they are in high demand and expensive. Further, there is not a lot of support yet for such emerging technologies. – Blair Currie, Snibble Corp.
15. Self-Driving Technology
I wouldn’t be in a hurry to invest in projects related to autopilots and automated transport management—at least until all the ethical issues regarding this area of technology are resolved. Only a few accidents could lead such startups to complete bankruptcy. – Vasily Voropaev, Smartbrain.io
16. Any ‘Cutting-Edge’ Technology
The race to embrace cutting-edge technology, from electronics to the internet to nonfungible tokens, often drives misguided investments. As a business leader, you need to know yourself. For example, are you an NFT developer? Do you have a use case? Even for those who answer “yes” to the latter, patience is imperative. Waiting for technology maturity and marketplace adoption can ensure efficient allocation of capital. – Nicholas Domnisch, EE Solutions