Speed and stability are important words for any business. The former indicates that the business can react quickly to changing market conditions, respond quickly to customer needs, and rapidly process information for maximum efficiency. The latter indicates that the business has been around for a while, is on solid financial footing, has a good reputation, has a bright future ahead of it, and has the trust and confidence of its customers and investors.
Business leaders will likely disagree on which is the more important indicator, but no one will deny that how a business implements technology plays a huge role in whether a business is speedy, stable, or both. What are some technologies that influence a company’s perception as either speedy or stable?
A company’s use of social media tells a lot about that company’s values. Many customers post reviews, positive and negative, online. Potential customers are exposed to those reviews which influence their opinion of that company. Social media and the internet enable a bad review to travel farther and reach more people than ever before. The way a company responds to criticism is also broadcast in a similar manner. A company that pays attention to the perception of its brand/image will implement policies which allow for a speedy response to public-facing issues. The company will utilize technology to get its response out to all interested parties, especially the customer, potential customers, and the media.
How a company uses network technology also has bearing on whether the company values speed over stability or vice-versa. A company that values speed will always be looking for the next best thing. However, this approach can be detrimental if the next best thing is not duly tested before implementation. One emerging network technology is software-defined networking (SDN), the architecture behind software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN). SD-WAN vendors claim that this technology delivers better performance, lower costs, higher manageability, and greater flexibility and scaleability. Businesses that rely heavily on big data and responsiveness will be attracted to the benefits of SD-WAN, but those that value stability may want to wait and see how this technology pans out.
Finally, cloud computing is another indicator of a company’s position on speed vs. stability. It seems that anything can be done in the cloud nowadays—word processing, database management, project management, organizing and scheduling meetings. Software as a Service (Saas) allows companies to stay on the cutting edge of updates and security releases without having to download and install new software. However, many companies are slow to adopt SaaS because of security concerns and because they are used to the way their systems work. With the apparent success of Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform, it seems that most software companies will be moving in the direction of the cloud. Maybe it’s time more companies get on board.
The debate of speed vs. stability will not be easily settled. Both perspectives have their merits. What’s important is that individual companies know why they choose the side they are on and be able to articulate those reasons to customers, vendors, and investors.