I was heading to the checkout line the other day when I ran across gluten-free vitamins.  Now, I understand the horrors of coeliac disease and appreciate being health conscious and going gluten minimalist.  But, this craze has simply gone too far.

You can find pasta, bread, and even cupcakes.  Also, there are gluten-free hamburgers and gluten free chicken and other products that were likely always missing gluten.

Simply, when a trend is hot, everybody wants a front row seat on the bandwagon.

Technology choices are almost as bad these days.  Has anybody seen a cloud-based product lately?  How about BI for the masses?

Everything Lives in The Cloud

Hosting software outside of your bricks-and-mortar location is not new.  The SaaS (Software as a Service) model has been going strong since the late 1990s.  However, the term “cloud” can now find itself attached to just about everything you do not install yourself.

For this argument, let us define cloud as something elastic (can scale up or down with regularity) and highly flexible.  Now, review companies claiming their offering as “cloud-based” against this definition.

Too often I review products and services that are hosted and charge a monthly fee.  Yet, their offering is not unusually flexible or scalable.

There is nothing wrong with a fixed, hosted software model.  You simply are renting instead of owning and alleviating the need for basic maintenance and upkeep.  Just make sure you are getting the benefits you signed up to receive.

Business Not-so Intelligence

Years ago, every company needed to view reports.  This has not changed.  Unfortunately, everybody has gone “big data” in regards to the amount of data he or she is collecting.   And, this has welcomed the need for business intelligence (BI).

BI on its own merits is incredibly valuable.  It requires analysis and understanding of your business domain to receive insights.  In other words, it takes a bit of effort to become an intelligent organization guided by data.

Too many vendors offer colorful speedometers and animated gauges as “marketing bling”.  By calling it a “Business Intelligence Platform”, companies are lulled into thinking intelligence is just a licensing fee away.

Make sure your investments in business intelligence are not simply higher prices paid for rebranded reporting tools.

Returning to the Fundamentals

Technology moves very quickly, and trends are at times too confusing to identify.  Do not lead your company towards a trend simply because of its popularity or the biggest companies are joining.

The first step is to understand your needs and strategic direction.  From there, identify where technology can play a role.  Although this might require a cultural change, it is easy to adjust process before applying technology.

Bottom line, return to the fundamentals of your business before being caught buying technology with less salt, no MSG, gluten-free, low fat, and absolutely no taste!