Jump-Start Technology Adoption Through These 3 Steps Entrepreneurs need to make it easier for potential clients to experiment with products and innovations when considering their purchase.

By Steve Andriole

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Today's technology entrepreneurs have it relatively easy. In the 20th century, deploying new technology meant spending years -- and tons of cash -- on developing platforms and complex applications.

In the old days prospective clients would conduct a thorough and rigorous requirements analysis. The new platforms and applications had to be integrated with existing technologies and networks and then be documented. The inventions had to enhance existing business models and processes.

Related: Convincing Naysayers to Adopt New Technology

These days requirements are discovered as technology is deployed. Companies buy or rent emerging technology to see how it might affect their existing and new business models and processes before making large investments. If a potential client takes a year to validate requirements, the technology solutions may well be obsolete.

Companies know that the technology-adoption process has changed, that they must move fast and that quick experimentation can be made possible by cloud delivery.

But many entrepreneurs fail to describe their technology contextually. They fall short in demonstrating how it could be deployed or how it could solve classes of problems across multiple vertical industries and even disrupt business models and processes for competitive advantage. They expect prospective technology users to determine its value.

Entrepreneurs can accelerate clients' technology-adoption process in by helping with these three processes or hiring consultants to do so:

1. Develop use cases.

Entrepreneurs should anticipate how companies will test their technology by developing use cases that demonstrate the value of their products and services. For example, explain how an app help an insurance company reach more customers.

Describe how a security tool works for a company's supply chain. Detail how a social-media listening technology can work for data analytics. These use cases must be specific and reflect precisely how the technology can be used to solve business problems or invent new business models and processes.

2. Create demonstrations.

Entrepreneurs should also develop demonstrations that clearly indicate how their products and services can be tapped to solve specific problems.

The demonstrations should not be canned but flexible. For example, if an entrepreneur wants to demonstrate how a big unstructured data-analytics technology works, companies should be able to plug their data into a pipe that demonstrates exactly how it work. Flexible demos are convincing. Canned demos beg way too many questions.

If a company's representative wants to play with new applications, analytics or security tools, he or she should be given access to the entrepreneur's private cloud to play with these techniques and devices.

Related: Customers Are Still Slow to Adopt Innovative New Tech. Why the Lag?

3. Help out with proactive due diligence.

Clients can better understand the potential of emerging technologies with entrepreneurs' proactive assistance. Every company will ask a series of questions about any technology it's considering. Entrepreneurs should anticipate these questions and proactively answer their questions, including ones like these: Is the technology patented? Is there a service model for the technology's delivery? How will the technology evolve? How secure is it? What will it cost? What's the anticipated return on investment?

Related: Study Trends to Guide Your Innovation Efforts

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Steve Andriole

Professor, Angel, Entrepreneur, Executive, Consultant, Author

Steve Andriole began his career at DARPA where, as director of cybernetics technology, he funded spatial DBMS (MIT), open source early warning & monitoring (CACI, DDI) and early efforts in AI (Yale, Carnegie-Mellon). He is currently the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business Technology at the Villanova University School of Business, where he teaches strategic information technology, emerging technology, innovation and entrepreneurialism. He was previously a venture capitalist and SVP/CTO at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., the SVP/CTO of Cigna Corporation, and is currently an active angel investor. He most recent book is Ready Rechnology: Fast-Tracking New Business Technologies.

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