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Evaluating the non-survival of best technologies in the long-term sample essay


The essay under consideration analyzes the factual statement that best technologies do not survive in the long term. The statement has been considered under real life incidences, scenarios, and personal experiences, by virtue of which, several conclusions have been obtained and justified through relevant logic.

Technology, for the purpose of this paper, has been restricted to the IT only; however, there are other implications and applications. There are several reasons for failure in long term survival of even the best technologies. Some of them are found to be of the highest probability of occurrence, others seem rather less risky.

However, analyzing these is extremely important because technology research and development, and implementation require major cash outflows that need to be controlled and planned well in order to avoid struggle for survival. It is also worth mentioning that in majority of the circumstances, latest technologies are implemented without prior research of their impact. Avoidance to this can also make things much easier.


As the facts state, and are known to all, that not more than 10% infact even lesser projects are successful across the IT industry due to several reasons [1]. Similarly, technologies that are really tremendous also do not survive in the long run. Technology may have several definitions, however, the easiest to comprehend definition is:

Technology can be defined as the applied part of research and development.

Elaborating on the above-mentioned definition, any organization may conduct R&D activities but just the part of it that is applied is converted into technology [2]. Technology is generally associated to IT and pertinent topics only; however, technology applies to enhancements and advancements of any entity. Despite this, the scope of this paper restricts the view of technology to IT hardware and software, and pertinent entities/issues only. There are several issues and causes that pertain to the long term success of a technology.


Study of this non-survival is not just important, but is critical to know and analyze. The prime reasons being that it is only its study and exploration that possibly may lead to non-repetition of such issues in the future [7]. However, the past shows history otherwise i.e. repetition of these issues has been witnessed in several failure cases. Also a point where this study gains extreme criticality is the fact that research and development costs and involves huge some of money that needs to be compensated (pay-back) once the technology is commercialized. If it, however, fails to deliver and sustain, survive in the long term, all efforts of R&D simply go to waste [3].

Analysis of Issues

For deeper analyses, it is most important to define the exact meaning of the topic. Survival in the long run implies that as a technology grows in its PLC (Product Life Cycle), it should have added customer base. When it is being said that best technologies do not survive in the long run, this statement implies that even the best of technologies are unable to sustain their competency in the long run, thus losing out the customer base. Or in other words, the possibility and cases that lead to a decline, referring to the query that why are technologies not able to survive for a longer term of life [16], [4].

Therefore, hypothetically, if the technology losses its clients due to some issues pertinent to the technology itself, the technology may be pronounced as a failure or non-survivor during the long term [17]. For further analyses of the issues that lead to the non-survival of some great technologies, the initial step should be their identification and then exploration. Following are the major issues pertinent to this:
Extra-ordinary Expectations

It can also be called as the inability of technologies to deliver what is actually expected from them. This can be a dual-sided problem. On one side, it is possible that during the phase of research and development, many technologies are elaborated and exposed to media and other stakeholders as the ultimate benchmarks beyond which no further development may take place.

In such a scenario, technologies are bound to perform much below the ‘speculation-built’ expectation of the target audience. The other side is the fact that the technology may be elaborated upon parity to what it actually is, however, it may truly be below par. Thus gradually, those who adapted that technology, move towards a substitute or the previously run satisfying technology, as the case may be, in the long run; this is a trend that leads to the new technology not surviving in the long run [5].
Timing of Updates

Updates are another wide issue why technologies may fail. Updates can be identified as patches or additional utilities that enhance the working of a technology. As the world is highly dynamic, technology keeps advancing, thus requiring timely updating of technology. In this regard, there are two prime concerns why a technology may fail [8]:

Mistimed Updates

The updates may not be timed as appropriately as required. For example, a software vendor may provide an anti-virus update of their software 6 months after that virus has started its destruction. Such updates are mistimed updates that do not satisfy the customers and may cause a technology failure.

Irregular Updates

A similar concept is of irregular updates. For example, a software vendor may actually provide updates with the first one in first month and then on randomly after any variable interval of time. This again is a hassle for the customer to actually update the technology as per a random walk. The issue might be as critical as it may not sound, and may actually cause the customers to walk away from such technologies causing them to fail.

The implementation of a modern technology, which is definite to be costly, leads to the customer expectation of after sales services including regular updates and renewal versions are the primary expectation that a customer may hold. Failure to deliver these may cause the customers to shift to alternatives, causing a decline in the usability of technology. This decline denies the chances of survival in the long term.
Costly Maintenance

The technology may effectively be the best and most advance; however, its maintenance cost may be on the similar height due to lesser expertise in the advance technology, costly equipments, etc. The lesser expertise may increase the dependency on a single vendor, pushing him into premium charging from the customers, and as a result, customers might want to shift to an alternative or to the previously held technology, that again leads to survival issues for new technologies in the long run [11].
Compatibility Issues

In the long run, organizations need to interact with their value/supply chain and thus requiring compatibility among the systems of the two organizations i.e. the technology each has implemented respectively. Failing to endure compatibility may lead to an eventual failure of the technology; primarily because organizations are most definite not to prefer technology that is incompatible with others, unless the organization stands tall in a commanding position in the value chain.
Further Advancements in Technology

Also referred to as Constructive-Destruction by some authors, technology may fail due to rapid development in the similar field enhancing the scope of accomplishments through enhancements, while these enhancements may fall beyond the scope of the previous technology, causing customers to shift to the latest technology for added services obtainable from the same.

Thus, technological advancements may actually lead to the existing technologies not surviving for long. This can also be rephrased as the obsolesce factor [9]. Consider the example of type-writers; these were considered a tremendous technology of their time. However, the advent of computer (keyboard and printer) actually ruined the existing technology of type writers. Another example can be the shift from Infrared to Bluetooth technology in terms of wireless mediums.
Alignment of Business Strategy Vs. IT Strategy

At times a tremendous technology may just not survive due to absence of in-built/default best practices that may align the IT strategy to the business strategy. Generally, the best practices are indulged, particularly in case of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tools, whereby organizations while implementing these technologies, tend to perform BPR (Business Process Re-engineering).

This in-turn has an effect on the whole of the business strategy and of course; BPR at that stage assures the appropriate alignment of the two strategies. Failure to align suitably may not be depicted at once; however gradual illustration of the same would encourage firms to shift their IT solutions and vendors, causing the decline of users and thus, creating a survival struggle.
Lack of Vendor Support

The best of the best technologies may not survive for even a shorter spam of time if the vendor support is lacking or missing. Many individuals and corporate clients may, for instance, find Linux a better operating system than many others even including Windows. However, lack of support leads to the survival struggle. There are firms working on providing its support but the current market share of it vs. windows says the whole story [10].
Lack of Monitoring & Control on the Implementation

Due to lack of monitoring and controlling the implementation of a technology, things may seem alright as implemented for a short spam of time. However, in the long run, as soon as problems start to appear, the think-tanks may blame the actual technology. Again, the reduction in usage rate assures a decline and a struggle for survival in the long run.
Lack of Creativity & Innovation

Technological development is no short term or ‘once-done’ sort of a task. For staying in business, a technology related firm must assure constant creativity and innovation in the technology launched in the first go. Creativity, innovation, and basically something new; if these factors missing from the approach, mission, and vision of a technology provider organization, in that case it is certain that the organization itself may not survive in the long run, let alone the technology it is developing.
Life Expectancy

Expected useful life of technologies has decline tremendously over the past decade. With new technology developed almost all the time anywhere in the world, the product life cycle has reduced x-axis value. In such a scenario, even the best of the best technologies struggle to survive in the long run. This primarily pertains to the competition that has developed so drastically that no technological advancement actually remains advancement over a period of time. In such a scenario, firms should come up with new research and development that could actually be deployed in technology useful for an organization in developing its competency [6].
Technology Migration Strategies

A technology should be adaptive in nature, and should be able to comprehend migration strategies across different technologies. Migration here may also imply the development of compatibility with other technology. This becomes more crucial when technological platform has to be changed or back ups need to be regenerated. A weak technology in this regard is most definite to create a non-survival scenario among existing technologies [12].


Understanding the root causes of failure is the first step towards its elimination [18], [19]. Technology is useless without application. It can be viewed from the above argument that technology that has the above-mentioned loopholes, may not survive in the long run. A simplest and most routine example that can be considered is the WINDOWS vs. DOS operating systems. Most of the above mentioned problems, if not all, were presence in the DOS systems and absent from the WINDOWS platform, and the stories of survival and accomplishments are known to all [13].

To conclude, it can actually not be said with extreme confidence that best technologies do not survive in the long-run at all. In the long-run, there are further advancements that lead to the non-survival of previous technologies [14]. However, there are some technologies that are still existent in the world from the past and are expected remain so. One of the prime examples of the same is a wheel.

Wheel probably is man’s finest creation, and possibly the advent of technology in human age [15]. Despite of prospering a lot today, wheel exists in this world today even in its basic form, let alone the advance version. But yes, mostly technologies do not survive in the long run because they are substituted through their or a substitute advance versions [20].

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