This text summarises the discussion with Radosław Taraszka about tracking and onboarding new technologies to organisations. He inspired me to summarise my approach in one post.

What are the most crucial characteristics of emerging technology you want to onboard to your organisations?

It is simple. It needs to deliver value to the organisation. When verifying it, you need to remember about your organisation’s environment. As an example, let’s use blockchain. It offers enormous potential, but finding a good place to adopt this technology in all organisations is difficult.

It also needs to find an opportune moment. When I was working with low-code technologies a few years ago, the time was not perfect. People were sceptical about this approach to creating applications. And right you can find low-code everywhere. There is even a low-code solution for designing quantum computing applications. Talking about the low-code platforms, it is worth mentioning licence costs – there were multiple approaches to it – some of them were not the best and slowed down technology adoption.

How often should you update your road map?

Technology is changing very often. You need to adjust it to your role in the organisation. I used to code. I tracked library updates, open-source projects and new tools during those times. From this perspective, a month could be long – especially if you work with brand-new frameworks.

Right now, I am focusing on technologies that can make a disruptive change in the market. Looking at technology from this perspective, I verify my technology radar every quarter and every half of the year. The quarterly reviews are used for adjustment of the current plan. Half-yearly examinations are used to add or remove technologies from the radar.

Whenever technology is removed from the radar, I start to remove it from my RSS feed pages about it. Finally, I am leaving a few of the most essential sources. In the case of LinkedIn contacts, I do not take any action.

Whenever I add new technology to the radar, I build new places I follow. I prefer a systematic approach and focus on finding the most valuable content. In the meantime, I am expanding my LinkedIn network. I am shocked at how fast LinkedIn algorithms adjust to my new preferences.

How do you find technologies that should be added to your radar?

I am using multiple approaches to find technologies that should be on my radar. I am tracking different sources:

  • Reports like Gartner or Forrester, or other – sources are essential because your customers and competitors track them. Organisations will follow those recommendations. Please be careful when reading more detailed studies – you can spot mistakes.
  • Discussions with vendors and partners - another great source of inspiration is discussions with vendors and partners. They can be a great help in finding the next technology to follow. Sometimes, you can discuss their roadmaps; in other cases, you could have a chance to discuss the research they conducted. Those people also struggle with the same challenges and are great at exchanging experiences.
  • Google Trends – super tool for checking what terms are being more popular
  • Startups – a great indicator that technology is promising are startups created next to it. It also includes VC funds. Money is always a good indicator.
  • Conferences – I look at these from 2 perspectives: talks about new technologies and conferences.

How do you verify the technology?

My hobby is technology. I like to play with it, test it by myself, and build things that use it. This is the temptation of the first step that should be conducted. It should be the last one.

I am verifying technology from 3 angles:

  • Providers – calls with vendors where I am discussing current features, road map, use cases and current customers
  • Customers – checking what people that try this technology think about it. Did it generate value for them? How difficult was it to learn it? Are they still using it? What are the plans for the next projects? …
  • Technology – here is a place for checking how it behaves.

For me, the two first points are the most important ones – we can verify without touching the code if we can find a place where it will generate value for customers and if the value generated encourages customers to increase technology adoption level.

If this check is successful, we can check the technology by itself.

How do you build your knowledge base?

The last item to mention is the knowledge base. We are in the position where we added technology to the roadmap and should think about how to track it. How to build a knowledge base?

In this area, I am using the classical way of doing that. I am a huge fan of having slots for deep reading. For me, the best are RSS feeds aggregators and newsletters. Social media tools where you must scroll daily do not work for me. I am trying to be active on LinkedIn.

Each time you add new technology, you will find sources you want to track. I prefer to start a bit slower to have the most valuable people on the list. Your first list can include technology vendors. And as soon as you visit MeetUps and conferences, it will grow.

Each technology will have its characteristics. In low-code, there was a lot of information about new features of platforms. In quantum – there is a lot of information about funding and partnerships. Finding the most valuable content is the challenge you need to solve.

I also like to listen to podcasts. This is an excellent inspiration for use cases, people who should be followed and knowledge sources. There are plenty of spaces where you can listen to it – you must find a routine.

Will this approach work for me?

I do not know. I have tested it, and it works. You will need to adjust it to your situation. Please try to find the elements that suit your needs and which do not and then change them.

I am happy to discuss other approaches and test them.