Using Emerging Technology to Beat the Curve, With Netsells CTO Sam Jordan

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Being receptive to change is a key element of remaining competitive. However, integrating emerging tech solutions ahead of the rest of the marketplace can be confusing, and brings with it a level of risk. How do you recognise the tech solutions of tomorrow and ensure that they’re stable and commercially viable before integrating them?

In this article we sat down with Netsells CTO Sam Jordan to discuss the best ways to recognise, analyse and integrate technology solutions into your business.

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How Do You Recognise Tech With Potential?  

Learn From the Experts

Most of the technology that we interface with today is open source, or ‘powered by people’.

Large development businesses are no longer the single source of truth when it comes to tech products, it’s now the Dev or engineer tinkering with different platforms in their spare time that drives true change.

Keeping your ear to the ground and following the people behind projects you’ve found useful in the past are great ways to hear about similar technologies in their infancy. It also allows you to follow the platform’s development helping you gauge when you’re confident enough to commit to testing it.  

When you find out about an upcoming project or piece of tech from a strong community source, you know that it has enough substance that it was worth them sharing, and in effect, adding their co-sign to.

Whilst this sounds very basic, it is actually the way that many industry front-runners define their business.

Check out the open-source projects our developers have been working on

How Emerging Technology Defined Netsells’ Offering

I followed senior representatives from CodeIgniter and noticed that a few of them were starting to use a new framework ‘Laravel’. At that time, Laravel was the project of a single dev and was only a couple months old, but I tested it and recognised its ability to perform. 

Fast forward around a year and Netsells was one of the only agencies in the world working commercially with Laravel, defining the way it was recognised in the industry.

Taking the risk at this early stage drastically redefined the direction of the business, with Laravel development becoming one of our most profitable areas of expertise.

This also gave me a new source for emerging tech to follow- Taylor Otwell, the creator of the Laravel framework. When we discovered Laravel was to ship with 1st party support for Vue.js we immediately began assessing it’s viability for the Netsells portfolio of services.

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What Should You Consider Onboarding Tech?

As your business grows so do the risks and rewards of bringing in new tech. On one hand you have the additional resources necessary to make full use of the new technology, but you stand to lose so much more than a small business if you don’t take a considered approach to onboarding.

Don’t Just go for the ‘Newest’ Thing

Don’t just jump at the newest ‘shiny thing’ if it doesn’t offer a solid opportunity for growth, consider the impact it's going to have across the wider business. Staff will require training, sales are going to have to become familiar and comfortable with the product and marketing will need to make updates across your public platforms.

New technologies don’t only affect development or product, they affect your entire business.

If the rewards you stand to gain from licensing or commissioning a new product are outweighed by the risks, you have to think carefully about whether it is worth waiting until the technology has matured.

Understand How it Fits into Your Tech Stack

Some new solutions may promise things that would make your life slightly easier, but you have to consider the consequences of introducing this to your existing stack.

It’s something we see all the time- project recovery briefs where another company has wedged a new piece of tech into an existing process map, with no proper plan for how those systems are going to work together.

The result is a poorly managed solution that causes time strains, wasted resources and hours of debugging.

Unless the system is going to run in complete isolation, always consider the touchpoints with the rest of the business.

‘Complete’ is Contextual

Just remember- tech, by definition, is never ‘complete’. It is constantly altering to fill new gaps in the market, improve security and offer features that are useful for a greater number of users.

Instead, define a ‘complete solution’ based on how well it satisfies your internal requirements. Consider each facet of your business and what your clients need. If the new solution doesn’t have the ability to do everything that the old one could, you will need to run them side-by-side, something that can open you up to a whole host of issues.

It can be disappointing to realise a new solution isn’t the right fit, but it is important to realise it as early as possible to avoid wasted time and money.

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How Has the Past 18 Months Changed the Way Businesses Are Approaching Tech?

Filling Gaps

We’ve seen a lot of proposals for extending or altering product functionality due to changes caused by COVID-19 and Brexit. These projects often require a fast turn-around and come about as the result of a policy-based or real-world change.

Reserved Spending

We’ve seen the proposed functionalities of the projects we receive to be much more refined, with a heavier focus on researching and launching a great MVP. People want the biggest chance of success at launch and the most bang for their buck on development.

Learn how to figure out the features crucial to your product launch in our recent insight: How to Define a True Minimum Viable Product

What Do You See in the Future of Tech?

The world of tech recruitment has been turned on its head by the adoption of remote working. High-salaried jobs in London have opened up to the rest of the UK, and the concept of having all developers in the same room seems to be a thing of the past.

I think in the future remote work will be taken even more seriously, and it will become commonplace to have development teams spread across continents, regardless of the employer’s size.

I also think that we’ll see open source projects pop up at a faster rate, as people are saving time on the commute and finding that time to work on personal projects. 

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