As a software architect, you need to make a choice when to adopt emerging technology. As suggested by research companies like Gartner, any emerging technology goes through different phases before reaching mainstream as illustrated below:

Technology Adoption
Fig A – Technology Hype Cycle (Gartner)

Similar to Gartner, Forrester has New Wave Methodology to assess emerging technologies and provide research insights.

Irrespective of Gartner or Forrester report, the decision to choose the emerging technology and applying it to formulate the future state of the application architecture remains a key aspect of any software architect’s responsibility.

If you are an early adopter, you have following key advantage:

Experiment and innovate with technology than your competitors to create a unique value proposition (for example – Netflix adopted resiliency testing early coming up with chaos monkey & related patterns and create a differentiator in the market)

But there can be a significant disadvantage as well for failure or being a guinea pig for the technology.

As a software architect, you need to be aware of technology dynamics, offerings, community support, growth potential and use your due diligence to decide whether you are an early adopter or you want to wait till it is proven with tangible benefits.

No technology choice is good or bad – you always learn from both success and failure. Organization Environment & Context plays an important aspect – sometimes failure is not an option whereas, at times, innovation can’t happen without the experimentation with new technology.

To conclude, it is not an easy path to adopt an emerging technology but you don’t want to be too late in certain situations as well. So, the answer lies between somewhere in the middle and making the choice judiciously.


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