The joy of missing out (JOMO) on technology hype curves

jumping-for-joy-in-field

Despite being in a business that demands hundreds of human-to-human interactions a week, my wife considers me a recluse when I’m not talking with executives. She couldn’t be more different given her FOMO, or fear of missing out, on local social events. I was recently made aware of the corollary to FOMO, now known as JOMO or the joy of missing out. There are even JOMO-related t-shirts now, my favorite of which reads “Sorry I’m late but I didn’t want to come anyway.”

FOMO and JOMO are not limited to social interactions. They are, for example, very much a part of technology consideration and implementation. Many technology initiatives are driven by a fear of missing out, but I’m hearing from more and more technology executives, across many industries, that share my joy of missing out.

Why? So many of the pitches these IT pros hear are driven by the hype curve or what some call the new technology “sugar rush.” Most seasoned technology veterans have developed differentiation skills to determine innovation from vaporware, but pressure to adopt new untested technologies comes from many different directions in the enterprise including outside the day-to-day organizational management team.

In the spirit of full disclosure, as a board member I’ve been in the position of “encouraging” a technology team to test a new implementation that they perhaps weren’t quite ready for. Board members feel a fiduciary responsibility to keep the company forward thinking and competitive.

In other cases, the pressure may come from grassroots staff who feel they’re behind the times in relation to peers, friends or competitors in the same industry. HR can sometimes even tell the business that they’re unable to retain intellectual capital or that they’re having challenges with recruiting the best candidates due to insufficient technology.

However, these same forces can be influential in helping the enterprise experience JOMO as well. Many of us, I’m sure, can recall a moment in our careers when we were very grateful we didn’t deploy a certain system or technology, exclaiming something along the lines of “Look what happened to Competitor ABC!”

Gartner focuses on some of these themes with its annual Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report. Two of the key inflection points on the cycle graph pretty much sum up how enterprises can experience technology FOMO or JOMO. The first is the “peak of inflated expectations” which is then followed by the “trough of disillusionment”

To better state things for the purposes of this blog post, consider it the “FOMO to JOMO Maturity Model.”

So what currently emerging technologies create JOMO for organizations that pause and wait for an offering that is fully baked? Based on my recent experiences with interviewing tech execs, here are the top three for enterprise IT:

  • Blockchain is all the rage but many fear the risk implementation before demystification of this complex security backbone. They’ve reduced anxiety by taking a cautious approach while knowing that there will only be more uses cases (for better or worse) from which to make an informed decision.
  • Artificial Intelligence is perhaps the most ubiquitous hype curve term in board rooms and executive suites around the world. Everyone agrees that AI will continue to become mainstream, but many have decided not to jump on the train too quickly. Perhaps the number one JOMO lesson that CIOs have learned from peers is related to the shortage of skilled AI professionals it takes to deploy AI and the prerequisite machine learning feeds that can power it.
  • IoT has arguably become a mainstream acronym, but many enterprises have been very reluctant to connect a variety of devices with no real strategy to gain insight from the feeds. More recently, edge computing strategies have experienced the same hype curve, with the same early stage JOMO of finding how devices communicate with and extract data on the periphery without relying on a central data center.

Do you have a JOMO (or FOMO) example from your enterprise ?

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