In last week’s post, we discussed how your progress on the digital maturity scale can dictate your technology choices. As indicated in the 2018 TIBCO CXO Innovation Survey results, digital leaders are adopting innovative technologies such as IoT, AI/ML, open source, and blockchain.

But who are the people in your organization driving these technologies?

It comes down to two areas: CXO Priority and Team Priority. The first is if executives are the ones driving the implementation of the above technologies, while the latter is if various teams within the organization are driving the implementation. The survey results conclude that teams drive the adoption of these technologies more than the CXO. Teams that are more likely to drive innovation outside of executive management are the line of business and departments across the organization.

2018 TIBCO CXO Innovation Survey

When we look at the top four innovative technologies, we see that IoT ranks first at 15.77 percent, AI and ML second at 10.66 percent, open source third at 7.99 percent, and blockchain last at 6.19 percent. For IoT innovation, 51 percent is driven by team priorities, while 45.8 percent is driven by CXO priorities. For AI and ML, of the 10.66 percent, 35.5 percent is driven by teams and 27.5 percent driven by CXOs. Of the 7.99 percent for open source, 26.8 percent is driven by team priorities while 22.5 percent is driven by CXO priorities. Lastly, of the 6.19 percent of blockchain users, 23.7 percent is driven by teams while 14.5 percent is driven by CXOs.

The data makes it clear that various teams across the company are driving the implementation of innovative technology. That being said, there are significant gaps in some of the technology adoptions between teams and CXOx, particularly in AI/ML and blockchain. This discrepancy has given way to “shadow innovation”, also known as  “shadow IT.” While executives are primarily responsible for creating an environment and setting the pace for innovation, it’s the teams who select the technology. Teams essentially act as shadow innovation, using various technologies to fail fast in order to solve a problem. This is typically seen in companies with an innovative culture who foster that type of environment and encourage employees to experiment, rewarding them for doing so.

Teams tend to choose technologies based on what they can bring to their department and later the entire organization. And the selection of these technologies differs based on where a team (or organization) is in their digital maturity. For those just starting their digital transformation journey, they are more likely to turn to critical foundational technologies (cloud, analytics and business intelligence, application and data integration). But for teams who have mastered the fundamentals, they often turn to the innovative technologies mentioned above.

Not sure where to start with implementing innovative technologies? Move forward with foundational technologies, but don’t forget that it is a multi-pronged approach that involves people and culture in addition to the technology. With this in place, you will create an innovative environment within your organization. If you are concerned about where you stand, take a strong, hard look at the environment you have in place for success. If you don’t like what you see, consider making some changes—starting with your own team.