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Question of the week: Is long-term thinking dead in the quickly evolving tech world? If not, in what way is the perspective, time range or strategy of “long-term” changing?

Staggeringly substantial investments –Eric Pelander 

No, long-term thinking in the tech world is not dead! Look at the focus, energy and investment going into long-term technology initiatives … ones that will require years for return, but when the return comes it could be staggeringly substantial. One example in the telecommunications world is NFV – Network Functions Virtualization. Telecommunication service providers are replacing expensive proprietary network equipment with virtualized machines – standard servers running software that virtualizes network functions. They are willing to undergo tremendous investment and disruption for the promise of more operational flexibility at lower capital and operating cost points. The investments in Big Data, the Internet of Things and mobile, to name a few, are more evidence of long-term thinking.

Certainly there can be big differences between companies in terms of those that are eager to invest for the long term and those that cannot or will not. For every Google betting on automated vehicles, robotics and other long-term initiatives, there are legacy companies struggling to maintain R&D budgets or fluidly change their business models. But that has been true for ages. With every new technology there are winners, there are losers, and there is plenty of disruption. And the buggy company that refused to think long-term got replaced by the automobile manufacturers. Long-term thinking is alive and well in the tech world.

About the Author
Eric Pelander

Eric Pelander is Co-Chairman and Founder of Waterstone. Eric has extensive experience in managing services businesses and consulting with clients on their growth strategies, business and operating models, and merger strategy and integration. His focus is on disruptive growth strategies and go-to-market and services improvement.