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Planning to Fail by Failing to Plan?

Planning to Fail by Failing to Plan?

Stefan Gleisner

According to a recent survey* of global risk experts, new technologies were identified as one of the top three most underestimated risks and second-highest long-term business risk (after cyber incidents).

Simply consider a quick list of 'new' technologies: robotics, AI, IoT, digitisation, blockchain; each of which has advocates saying their new technology is poised to change society (and all of which have reinforcing effects on each other). It follows, that we should be expecting changes driven by these technologies. We should be considering both the risks to our businesses that these changes pose and be looking for the opportunities these new technologies offer. This is especially true if your business isn't yet directly investing in these new technologies.

It's worth noting the difference be between the likelihood of a risk versus the impact of the risk happening - and breaking down what that means for your business.

We can assume that new technologies are very likely to have an impact in the long-term, but which ones and when will depend on a number of factors, and only some of these factors will be under your control. When it comes to the impact of the risk happening, a good rule of thumb is: the less you plan for it, the bigger the impact!

So, what are your options?

One option would be to wait for the changes to happen and then react to them. But that would leave you with very little control over any outcomes, possibly playing catch-up with your competitors, and maybe even losing some of your customers.

A better alternative is to set aside some time, assess and compare each of the new technologies and their possible impacts, and plan to tackle them one at a time, starting with the one that you think will have the biggest impact on your business.

There will be many aspects of each technology to consider:

  • How advanced is the technology? Is it already in production and available? Is it already having an impact somewhere?- i.e. What's the timeframe?
  • Will its impact be negative? Or can it be used and integrated into your business to boost productivity, connectivity, time-to-market...? What are the cost implications?
  • Which part of your business will it affect? What are the possible scenarios for risk or opportunity? What are the benefits?

Looking at new and future technologies and assessing the risks to your business does take some time and effort. It may be something you feel you don't have the capacity for, or in-house skills to assess. But these aren't good reasons to wait.

Remember: "Failing to plan is planning to fail"!
Without a doubt, your competitors will be considering the risks and benefits of these new technologies as well. If your industry or market is poised to take advantage of the opportunities why let your competitors seize the advantage. It only takes one business to be ahead of the game to shift the market significantly in their favour - shouldn't that be you?

If you would like to get a better understanding of how new technologies will affect your business, do get in touch