Today I want to talk about technology adoption and take a look at where we are with the technology we use for recruitment and talent acquisition.
If you are unfamiliar, here’s the technology adoption life-cycle curve below.
So what are you looking at? Basically, for the adoption of any technology you experience a timeline of adoption that looks a lot like above. With innovators and early adopters being the first to implement these technologies and as they begin having success and these technologies get proof points with customers, more companies are willing to invest in and purchase these technologies. With the late adopters and laggards coming in when the technology category is fully established. One other thing to note is that the number of competitors in these categories often increases along this curve as well, as the technology establishes itself in the given market.
Crossing the Chasm
Now if you are familiar with Geoffrey Moore, you more than likely have read Crossing the Chasm. In short, what Moore focused on was what he called the Chasm which occurred between the Innovators (Early Enthusiasts) and the Early Adopters (Visionaries) and the Early Majority (Pragmatists). His focus was on marketers and how to ensure you could cross this gap with your technology innovation as he deemed it the hardest jump for any market opportunity and that marketers need to focus on making that jump because if you could have success with the Early Majority (Pragmatists) then the technology adopted would become a de facto standard.
See the chart below.
Now this theory is mostly focused on the technology companies that are selling technology innovations but I want to take a look at the Chasm that I believe exists for companies that are willing to take chances on adopting technology early in the curve.
Weighing Risk and Reward
As you look at the technology curves above I feel that the benefits of adopting technology are more synonymous with Moore’s Chasm than the normal technology adoption curve.
As you move along the curve, you get less and less benefit of adopting the technology as your competitors are or have already implemented and learned how to utilize the technology for optimal results. The earlier you adopt the technology, the greater chance that it will provide a competitive advantage to your organization.
(And before I move forward, these are disruptive technologies I’m talking about, not obvious extensions to current technologies.)
As we look at Moore’s curve above, I see the Chasm as a great parallel to the benefits of adopting technology for organizations. The greatest benefit in technology adoption is in the first two stages and the chasm is where the advantage begins to get less and less. While the Early Adopters get some advantage from the new technology it will be much less than those who took a chance on it in the first place. And while there’s much more risk early in the curve, the rewards can be immense for the organizations that take that leap. Organizations that are at the tail end of this curve consistently don’t stay on top very long and typically teeter in mediocrity.
Benefits of Being an Innovator and Early Adopter
So what are the benefits are jumping in early in the curve? Here are a few important ones:
Innovation: If a technology that can cross the chasm, it’s one that enables your organization to do things that they could never do before. This transforms how you think about your strategy and process. That’s what makes it scary for most organizations because it changes the way you do business and staff your organization and change is one of the hardest things to do.
Experience: As you get farther down the curve in terms of adoption, experience with the solution and how to use it most effectively provides more competitive advantage than the technology itself. And the earlier you adopt a technology, the better you can understand how it affects your organization and how your strategy and process need to change in order to get the most benefit out of the solution. Relying on best practices of others is a slippery slope as what works for one organization most likely won’t work in other environments.
Budget: While this shouldn’t be your primary concern when evaluating technology, it is something to keep in mind. Typically, earlier in the life-cycle technologies can be more cost effective for early customers. As the market matures, the price typically gets more expensive to a point and then gets price competitive as too many competitors get in the market for Laggards. But as we mentioned above you don’t want to be adopting a technology this late in the curve.
Shape the Vision: This is one benefit that I don’t think is written about enough but typically first movers receive a lot of input in the future of the technology. And while any good technology provider understands the trajectory of it’s technology, customer input is incredibly important to truly strategic innovation. And the truth is that you just have more input earlier in the curve.
Investing in emerging technology does not come without risk and requires you to do your due diligence on the team and technology vision you are investing in. I am not suggesting you spend all your money on new innovative technologies without thought but that you make strategic investments in technologies that you think can transform the way you run your business and attract quality talent.
So where do you typically lie in the technology adoption curve?
Later this week, I’ll go through the current talent acquisition technology marketplace and where I believe the most common technologies fit in the curve.