How to Choose Effective Business Technology

Innovations in technology can be huge catalysts in building your business and better serving your customers. With these six tips, you can know what to look for, and what might just waste your time.

Marcelino Rodríguez Cancio, CTO, Couture Technologies

April 16, 2024

4 Min Read
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Jezper via Alamy Stock

Technology is a powerful tool in making our lives easier, more efficient, and more convenient. But not all technology is created equally. As the list of tech-enabled products and services continues to grow, many brands across industries want to tout the latest innovations to entice customers. Many, however, aren’t asking if this tech is actually good, or something their customers truly want. Many companies may be investing in tech, but they’re just throwing money into development and not clearly planning why the tech they’re adding is needed or what problem it’s solving.  

Drawing on a 20-year career including leadership roles in startups, academia and consulting, I’ve witnessed my fair share of bad ideas or execution -- along with the common denominators that will always appear in successful launches. In my experience, these are the top six components of what makes good technology that can actually grow your business rather than encumber it. Whenever you’re looking at integrating new technology you should consider the following criteria: 

1. Keep things simple. 

The latest technology is great, but it’s not doing its job if your customer needs a coding certificate to operate it. The vast majority of consumers have achieved a level of tech-savvy to efficiently use new tools if they’ve been designed with user experience in mind. But even the most advanced users won’t use your tech if it requires more than a few minutes of time. When deciding to implement a new technology, think of your most tech-encumbered family member using it. If it would end in frustration, you’ve probably over-complicated things.  

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2. Decide if you want to be problem-centric or tech driven.  

In tech development, two distinct approaches exist: solving existing problems with innovative technology or leveraging technology to subsequently identify problems to solve. Finding what isn’t working for your current customers through focus groups and customer discovery helps you home in on your problem-centric solutions. Customers love to see a brand that actively listens to feedback and makes improvements, so no need to reinvent the wheel here. The tech-driven approach can feel a bit riskier, but some of the best tech projects have created demand for something we didn’t know we needed (Netflix, Uber, Amazon, etc.). Understanding these paradigms forms the foundation for strategic decision-making in the tech landscape.  

3. Communicate openly with customers. 

Understanding your customers is paramount to ensuring business success. To comprehensively evaluate technology, maintaining open communication channels with customers, conducting focus groups, and reaching out to both users and non-users is essential. By posing targeted questions about their usage patterns, you can discern the reasons behind adoption or rejection. Additionally, running two focus groups -- one with the technology and one without -- allows for a direct comparison of key metrics, indicating the potential success of the technology.  

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4. Establish an experienced research department. 

Contrary to some popular innovation strategies, a research department provides a straightforward solution to issues across diverse sectors including hospitals, schools, retail, and tech companies. There are two common myths I see in startups when considering the importance of a research department: “I don’t need one,” or “my current team can handle this.” While both are tempting, forgoing a dedicated research department leaves you oblivious to emerging trends and makes falling behind competition inevitable. Although feasible, burdening your existing team with additional responsibilities won’t be the most effective strategy. Without dedicated focus, staying aware of tech advancements remains a secondary priority for your company.  

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5. Achieve what you set out to do. 

In general, people don’t want to have to learn to engage with a new technology unless they can clearly experience a stated benefit. For example, virtual fitting technology is a great add for apparel brands in theory. But if the technology they choose doesn’t accurately reflect clothing and body measurements it isn’t doing its job. People need to know that engaging with technology will provide the results claimed, and when it falls short, they’ll be less likely to try new things on your platform in the future. 

6. Serve a diverse customer base. 

The best technologies are created when the people who build them relate to the people who will use them. This means seeking out opinions and talents from people who have been statistically underrepresented in the tech world. Machine learning algorithms, if biased, can lead to detrimental decisions, negatively impacting brand perception. Maximizing financial returns is essential, but equally important to understanding and considering your tech’s broader impact on the society it exists within.  

Innovations in technology can be huge catalysts in building your business and better serving your customers. With these tips, you can know what to look for, and what might just waste your time.  

About the Author(s)

Marcelino Rodríguez Cancio

CTO, Couture Technologies

Marcelino Rodríguez Cancio is Chief Technology Officer at Couture Technologies. In his 20+ year career in tech, Marcelino has researched, designed, and engineered solutions for organizations including startups, academia, and consulting spaces.  

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