12 Common Tech Investments That Won’t Be Worth It Long Term

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The world of business evolves alongside technology, and some experts even claim that one shapes the other. A new technology that explodes in a blast of hype and confetti usually draws a lot of business attention—enough so that businesses rush to invest in the new tech.

However, as companies eventually come to realize, some of these tech innovations don’t have a very long life—with the tech world’s fast pace, many innovations soon become outdated or completely irrelevant. So how do we know what tech is worth investing in and which ones will never pay off? These 12 professionals from Forbes Technology Council examine some of the tech investments they think aren’t worth the hassle.

1. The Latest Cybersecurity Tools

Many organizations invest in the latest cybersecurity products that claim to be tuned to detect and stop threats to the network. However, despite the proliferation of these tools, data breaches are occurring with increasing frequency. The problem is these tools can detect known threats, but are ineffective against unknown ones and malicious insider attacks launched against them. – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul

2. Everything-As-A-Service (XaaS)

We all agree that XaaS is very convenient and promises both predictable and high margins for the provider and an easy consumption model for the user. However, many business leaders fail to understand the complexity of turning a technology into a service and will, therefore, be late to market or miscalculate the cost of operations of an XaaS model. – Georg Thingbo, Kinly

3. Paid Group Access

I believe that paid group access—Facebook groups, Slack channels, etc.—will become an obsolete form of communication. All of these channels will become so overloaded and fatiguing that people won’t want to pay for them. I also see the general fatigue of paying to socialize on these groups within these channels. If anything, there will be other new ways to organize paid groups. – Joshua Davidson, ChopDawg.com

4. Single-Vendor Cloud Strategy

Over the past 10 years, one of the worst investments that could be made is locking yourself into a single-vendor cloud strategy. These technologies all leapfrog each other with advancements, price options and ease of use. This will continue through the next decade. There is no better time to make sure your tools and data center are set up to be vendor agnostic and flexible to make swift decisions. – Joe Cutroneo, DefendX Software

5. Open-Source Databases

Open-source tech was promising when the world was all about download-install-run in your data center. Today most businesses have moved to cloud, and there are cloud-native DBaaS alternatives that are architected ground up for the cloud. Also, the hardest thing to move is a database. Installing and managing an open-source database in a data center is sure to be obsolete before it pays off. – Shruti Bhat, Rockset

6. Hardware In The Age Of Software

The useful life cycle for hardware is shrinking and quickly. With the abstraction of the software from the hardware taking place across the technology stack, this acceleration will be increasing. The value is in the software layer, and that enables faster updates—making the underlying hardware obsolete. – Randal Kenworthy, Cognizant

7. AI Without A Defined Purpose

Many companies are being lured by the hype around AI, without a deep understanding of the specific tasks and goals they want to achieve. AI is undoubtedly a powerful technology. However, given the resources needed to implement and maintain an effective pipeline, it should be used purposefully with clear objectives. – Nicolas Dessaigne, Algolia

8. On-Premise SIEMs

Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions are critical to IT and security operations, but are difficult to deploy and manage. In today’s cloud-first approach for most enterprises, purchasing and deploying an SIEM on premise or in a private cloud will soon be outdated. We should be looking into cloud-native solutions that can ingest logs from legacy systems. – Terence Jackson, Thycotic

9. Traditional ERP Projects

It’s amazing how many companies are starting traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects. ERP done in a traditional way will take years to complete and be obsolete before the investment pays off. If companies must implement or upgrade their ERP, the time is now to do a 100% (no exceptions) standard implementation and move any process customizations to workloads in the cloud, which digitally connect back to the ERP. – Kerrie Hoffman, Get Digital Velocity; and FocalPoint Business Coaching, a Hoffman Advantage Company

10. Data Integration Via ETLs And APIs

Data integration via ETLs and APIs actually compounds the issue of debilitating complexity and does nothing to fix the root cause. At best, these are temporary workarounds, and buyers should be exploring newer ways to manage their complex data needs, such as data fabrics, which solve the underlying data management issues and make data integration projects obsolete. – Dan Demers, Cinchy

11. Isolated Solutions

Tech executives may be enticed by something that will add a cool ability to their ecosystem, but sometimes it doesn’t integrate with their existing systems well. Also, other upgrades they had planned may not work with this new system or service. It might never work as well as the demo, or might be limited because of a legacy system, and the resulting ROI is extremely low or never materializes at all. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

12. Printing Devices

When business leaders invest in “trendy” products, the excitement in the product has already happened. The leaders are “late to the party” and failure is likely. An example: the world wants to go paperless and people will use their smartphones to scan items like airline and parking lot tickets, rendering investments into printing devices obsolete. – Ashwini Choudhary, Recogni

 

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