Organizations that do business in the United States, or anywhere in the world really, understand that strategic investments in enterprise technology – everything from server technology and data centers to financial automation technology – have the power to deliver operational and competitive advantage and move business forward.  But with the pace of technology’s development accelerating and intensifying, how can the average business hope to stay ahead?  Or does it matter? 

Consider that, according to a forecast released by Gartner, the cloud services market was expected to reach $68.3 billion in 2010 and could reach $149 billion by 2014.  Consider also that the Nielsen market research firm recently projected that, by the end of 2011, more than 50 percent of Americans will be using smartphones.  That’s almost double the 28 percent who owned smartphones in the third quarter of 2010, posing a direct and indirect technology investment impact to enterprise.

In both of these cases, the market has done more to drive innovation than the technology itself.  Often, the latest technology debuts just as the organization’s technology leaders put the finishing touches on their business case for investing in the offerings of the previous generation.

As an enterprise technology communicator, I know that maintaining my own grasp on the pace of technology’s evolution can be daunting, but I also know that the enterprise technology clients I work with don’t create technology for technology’s sake, nor do the end users of enterprise technology invest in it for the same reason.

Having worked with a wide range of enterprise technology providers offering everything from financial automation software to electronic medical records (EMR) suites to data center analytics solutions, it’s been my experience that the best and most successful place highest priority on innovation that satisfies the most audience demand the fastest – and then delivers added but related functionality that those audiences didn’t know they needed.

The premise sounds very simple, but as enterprise technology marketers know, losing sight of the value-to-audience proposition in favor of technology for technology’s sake is an all-too-real phenomenon.  By focusing enterprise technology providers on technology’s application to solving real and pervasive current and future business problems instead of the technology itself, organizations can more easily prioritize their investment path in a very fast-paced environment. 

More importantly, those organizations can more easily view their enterprise technology providers not as vendors, but as truly strategic business advisors.  It’s this foundation of trust that will build more long-term value than any one enterprise technology solution ever could, no matter how impressive.

—Brian Barthlemes is an account supervisor at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.