NeuEon Insights / Business & IT Strategy, Leadership & Team Management, Technology Selection & Program Management

11 Tech Investments And Innovations That May Not Be Worth The Money

Tech leaders, by nature, are knowledgeable enthusiasts about the capabilities and possibilities of technology, especially as it relates to how their own companies operate. However, tech leaders don’t just understand the benefits of tech. They also know when certain investments likely aren’t worth the money businesses spend on them—whether it’s because the technology in question is outdated, not applicable to their industry or simply isn’t quite “ready for prime time.”

Most companies have limited tech budgets, so it’s essential not to waste money on technology that’s not going to deliver ROI. Below, 11 members of Forbes Technology Council share tech investments and innovations that most companies might be better served to pass up.

1. New Technology Builds

Building a new technology is time-consuming and resource-intensive, and it can be expensive. Many times, the insistence on doing it in house costs companies a lot of human hours and millions of dollars when there are expert vendors that offer customization, cost-effectiveness, easy transition and continuous support. A careful evaluation is a must before deciding to build a new tech solution in house. – Vasudeva Akula, VOZIQ

2. Servers

Servers are a waste of money, and they cost more money the longer they stay in your data center. Infrastructure as a service providers can do a better job of keeping those “boxes” running at a much more reasonable cost. – Peter Karlson, NeuEon, Inc.

3. Virtual Reality For Meetings And Research

Some say virtual reality will improve business efficiency by replacing physical interactions and facilitating research. As a hardware technologist, I find VR at its current stage cannot yet support that claim. I would not invest in it just yet for my company. However, I do agree that this technology might offer different and substantial benefits for retail consumers. – Jun Pei, Cepton

4. Blockchain

Tech hype can lull us into a false sense of security, so we neglect to read the small print. Not every “next big thing” technology can be applied to every market. Blockchain is a case in point. It’s a valuable tool, but the sheer weight of data in the Ag 4.0 supply chain means its applications are limited. So, before investing in any tech, ask yourself, “How exactly can it be used to meet my needs?” – Graeme McCracken, Proagrica

5. Unfocused Artificial Intelligence 

AI has been a source of waste, driven by a board-level demand to “add AI” without understanding some of the challenges you need to overcome to build meaningful AI into software products and projects. Like any other feature of a product, building a business case for AI, understanding the benefits, SWOT analysis and market mapping, and so on all still apply—there are rarely shortcuts. – Murray Foxcroft, ProArch

6. Hardware Appliances

Many things that were a good use of funds five to 10 or more years ago are now commoditized and commonplace. Two such examples come to mind. The first is hardware appliances that create lock-in and introduce security issues into your environment. The second is virtualization. Companies spend billions on this technology without having a clear reason for not using open-source technologies. – Jonah Kowall,

7. Long-Term Maintenance Agreements

Maintenance agreements longer than two years are a waste of money. It’s necessary to have a service level agreement in place for maintenance and performance; however, once you surpass the two-year mark, your platform starts to get outdated and you’re just paying for the status quo. To stay relevant and top of mind we need to innovate, and we cannot do that with the five- to 10-year commitments we used to be accustomed to. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB

8. Legacy Systems

Continued support of legacy systems—choosing to keep an old system running so we don’t “rock the boat” with changes—is a real waste of money. The pandemic accelerated the call for digital transformation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools have become ubiquitous and less expensive. It’s time to invest in technology that will enable your business for the foreseeable future and stop feeding your old tech. – Ahmer Inam, Pactera EDGE

9. Unbundled Software As A Service Programs

One way you can save money on your tech is to consolidate your SaaS programs. There’s a good chance the programs your company uses are offered in bundles with other products and services. Look for deals where you can group relevant products, and you’ll find a reduction in costs at the end of the year. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

10. On-Premises Email Systems

It’s not worth investing in the development and maintenance of an on-premises email system. Organizations should outsource a SaaS email solution, which is cost-effective and eliminates the burden of maintaining the computing infrastructure. No traditional licensing management, installation or equipment management is required. – Roman Taranov, Ruby Labs

11. In-House Data Centers

Building your own data center is a massive undertaking. Cloud provider companies such as AWS, GCP and Azure have amortized the cost of computing due to economies of scale. Suppose you are looking to reduce your NetOps cost by custom configurations or need some version of an on-premises solution. In that case, I suggest partnering with your cloud providers to explore more options together. – Bhavesh “BK” Kakadiya, The Abstract Operations Company

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