The Digital Dividend: First-Mover Advantage

Verizon and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services have produced some interesting research identifying the connection between adoption of new technologies and business performance.

This report explores the connection between adoption of new technologies and business performance, focusing on cloud, mobile, advanced analytics, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. It provides compelling evidence that a company’s attitude toward new technology correlates with its competiveness: 64% of respondents who identified their company as a Pioneer also said they were ahead of the competition; just 39% of those from Cautious companies felt the same.

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An excerpt from the Executive Summary:

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes, according to a new survey from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services of 672 business and technology leaders from around the world. IT Pioneers—companies that believe strongly in the benefits of adopting new technologies and that pursue first-mover advantage—are more likely to lead in both revenue growth and market position. They adapt more easily to new ways of doing business and are transforming all aspects of their businesses faster than other companies.”


The drive for transformation is changing how new technology-enabled business opportunities are identified and exploited. Increasingly what would have been seen as IT decisions are now being taken up by business leaders as strategic decisions. This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”

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The business world is split into three fairly equal groupings when it comes to new technology adoption. About a third of respondents (34%) identified their companies as IT Pioneers, saying they strongly believe in the benefits of new technology and seek to get first-mover advantage. Roughly another third (35%) said they watch the leaders and invest in new technologies once their benefits have been proven. A little under a third (30%) described themselves as Cautious, generally waiting until a technology is well-established before adopting it.