345 Million euro write off - Could different clock speed of Business Vs Technology Innovation cycle be a reason ?

This is my first blog - must admit it ! Some interesting things are happening in the industry and thought it may be interesting to share some ideas!

A customer and someone well respected in Air Cargo industry sent me a news article about the decision DP/DHL made to write off a 345 Million euro investment in a IT initiative. Must be disappointing to the leadership at DHL to say the least. DHL has an impressive track record in innovating and leading the way technology is used in logistics and transportation. What could have gone wrong? Gives all of us something to ponder over..

Past few years have seen rapid changes in how technology evolves. Software as a Service has become smarter for sure. A range of inter operable development tools are available, and its easy to leverage work done by unrelated partners to create a powerful ecosystem with functionality to meet the most complex business needs. Providers are seen delivering consistent, reliable service levels. Consumers are getting exactly 'what' they want without having to spend an arm and leg in figuring out 'how'. Arrival of cloud technology and acceptance of cloud services in the enterprise world has changed everything. Its a easy guess where this is going in future. For a business there is perhaps less need to own technology, just to solve a unique challenge or in search of a competitive advantage!

When it comes to large enterprises - 'Business as Usual' still remains the safest thing to do for corporate managers. The larger a business grows, the more slower it becomes to change. There is culture, there is hierarchy, there are egos, systems, processes - endless list if impediments.  Its a obvious mismatch in comparison to the speed of technology changes happening around the business. Before companies get teams organized and architects put a firm plan in place - everything around changes, thus bringing technology initiatives back to square one! Wonder if DHL got caught in this cycle..

Businesses may want to look at technology as a perishable commodity and avoid large capital investments or locked-in positions. "If technology solution is not useful immediately - don't buy it", could be the rule. If technology is not consumed while its still fresh, you will be left with a bad taste! As a thumb rule - every technology initiative with a deployment timeline of over 12 months may have to be carefully evaluated for its worthiness. A lot of things change in the tech world in 12 months. Its going to be difficult for businesses to keep pace and adapt with technology if its is not a core competence.

If you are a business with great operations and need technology to make it smarter - Look around ! There may be readily available alternatives that will pleasantly surprise you. 

- Milind