Think Agencies Can Guarantee the Future? The Myth of Future Proofing

Stop the Madness

Right off the bat, I have a request. Can we please stop using the phrase “Future Proofing?” Allow me to explain.

During new business pitches in 2018,  prospects have said something like this to us. “The agency that presented before you gave us a guarantee that they will future-proof their work, will you?”

News flash: IT CAN’T BE DONE. The concept of future proofing is a farce. A cheap tactic designed to scare a prospect into signing a contract.  Agencies offering future proofing guarantees are fooling clients and themselves. Here’s why.

On the Soft Side

Take software development, for example. It’s an iterative process designed to address current bugs, enhance the product, and add new functionality. This makes it impossible to guarantee how a digital product will behave when new versions of software or development platforms are released.

The Rise of the Machines

You have only to consider Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find your answer to Future Proofing.

According to O’Reilly Media, “We are looking at an explosion of targeted Artificial Intelligence systems: Bots, CRM, personal assistants for specific industries including Finance, Health, Security, and Retail.”

Sure, today you can build a website or an app that incorporates chatbot and voice-assistant technology. But given the speed and continuing evolution of machine learning, future proofing is an impossibility.

Further, the convergence of AI, chatbots, and mobile opens up a whole new frontier of digital integration opportunities. Even if these technologies are incorporated into a digital ecosystem today, there isn’t a method to predict the future impact of advancements in AI and mobile.

As one Silicon Valley software executive said, “We’re in the midst of a once-in-a-decade paradigm shift… [which will] radically change end-user experiences and developer frameworks and inevitably will change business models, how we monetize, and how we advertise.”

Beyond the complexity of all the changes the exec notes, no one can say for sure that a major paradigm shift will only happen once in the next ten years. How can anyone Future Proof based on that? No one can.

Block Who? Internet of What? Clouds Where?

Now let’s add more to the mix: The interconnected and enabling technologies of blockchain, IoT, and cloud computing. The speed at which this sophisticated technology train is moving nullifies Future Proofing. Period.

The Proof is in the Pudding

The truth is, you can only build to the latest spec; not for technology that doesn’t exist. No one has that crystal ball. While the “Next Big Thing” may be around the corner, the view around the bend is blurry at best, and usually blind.

This isn’t to say you can’t build agile digital products to take advantage of new technology and platforms, you can. It’s in the approach you take with clients and the work; not in guaranteeing the impossible.

We work with the most up-to-date data to develop strategic plans and create the best solution. We take into account emerging technologies and digital trends. We thoroughly vet development frameworks, content management systems, CRMs, marketing automation tools, and other integrated systems and platforms. Also, our designers use the latest design techniques available.

Projects don’t have an end date. Digital ecosystems are always evolving. Even after we hand over the keys, we continue to educate ourselves and our clients about what is on the horizon. Innovative thinking, adaptability, and close collaborative relationships with our clients are key. Our approach is grounded in best practices. It provides a path to leading-edge strategies and solutions in the hyperdrive vortex of technology.

Our clients need digital solutions that deliver measurable results and drive business, and an agency partner they can trust. They want to know that when issues arise, a new technology comes to market, or opportunities present themselves, we will be there to answer the challenge and deliver the right strategy and solution.

So. Let me ask you this. Isn’t it time to lay the misguided concept of future proofing to rest?

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