An IT executive recently asked me this question. How many technologies can a company adopt at once, successfully? It’s a question I hadn’t paused to contemplate before that moment. And if you are a vendor, it’s not one that you think about very often either. But if you are a member of the IT team, it’s top of mind every day.
There are two answers to this question. The first is my initial response to the asker: change management limits the pace. How quickly an IT team can train people, onboard them, and make them successful with all the different technologies procured by a central unit. How fast the company can change behavior.
The second answer is that the company can absorb an infinite number of technologies - if it flips the model. Instead of IT managing change, each employee learns the technologies they need at their own pace.
We see an absolute explosion in the number and the diversity of software solutions because of this type of empowerment. No IT team has the time to understand all the individual needs for each employee’s workflow at every level of a company.
In the world of education, this concept is called the Flipped Classroom. Students take charge of their education, and the teacher becomes a guide. The parallel between education and software runs deep.
By empowering employees to manage their toolkits and advancement, the number of technologies a company adopts explodes. Though more software implies complexity, the strategy works because the decision-making is pushed deeper into the organization.
We’ve all read reports about the average number of SaaS products in use at the typical company is growing from 50 to 200 or more. This is why. To compete and win means adopting as many of the best technologies as quickly as possible through decentralized purchasing and change management.