How to choose an emerging technology: 3 factors

How to choose an emerging technology: 3 factors

Aaron Stibel walks you though his choice for a modernization effort – including culture fit.

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Dun & Bradstreet is moving through a transformation effort to consolidate many of its products into fewer platforms. In the past, development teams marched down multiple paths, often creating products as silos. When we looked at the situation we saw a lot of synergies in bringing those products together under a single platform.

Five years ago we created Phoenix, an enterprise modernization effort that integrated our existing technology platforms from several expensive legacy systems into a single platform using SaaS, cloud and open source technologies. While the Phoenix back end has been operating very well, we realized recently that the front end was not as effective in areas such as adapting for new products. As a result, we’ve been able to jettison the front end of that system and replace it with AngularJS, a JavaScript-based open-source client and server-side web application framework.

We’re able to do that because the system was built using web services and open APIs. As a result, we’re not only able to create better and faster changes for our customers, we can roll other legacy products onto this platform amongst sharing teams across our organization. We rolled out our first product in January based on Angular, and followed with U.K. and Irish versions of that product not too long after.  

As an emerging technology, then, Angular actually did pay off and sped up our ability to deliver products and re-platform expense products.  

How did we choose this technology? It comes down to a few factors you may want to consider in your own efforts.  

  1. Culture. Culture is an important decision to consider when it comes to technologies. A lot of people don’t think about it, but we want our engineers to continue to be challenged and have fun at work. You maintain that spirit with rich culture that also challenges engineers constantly. A good engineer always wants to be working on the next cool thing.
  2. Speed. Will the new technology allow us to move faster? Can we innovate on this platform atop one of our aging back ends faster than we were with our previous compiled front end?
  3. Cost of Ownership. Will the new technology cost less over the course of our ownership of it?

Making this transition among the technology and product teams was a massive effort. Because we considered all these factors, we are doing a great job delivering products on time and on budget. We’ll continue doing that as we roll out to more countries over the next several quarters.  

Aaron Stibel serves as Chief Executive Officer of MDR, the leading data and marketing services company to the education community. Previously, Stibel served as Chief Technology Officer of Emerging Businesses at Dun & Bradstreet. Prior to Dun & Bradstreet, Aaron spent nine years with software company Revenue Solutions Inc.

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