The 90/10 Rule of Business and Technology

Posted by in Business, Engineering Management, Startup, Technology

On 1st of August, 2016 the top 5 companies trending on the stock exchange were all tech companies. Technology has the capability to make things more efficient, It doesn’t replace job function just make them smarter. Sometimes this causes the redundancy in roles and sometimes generation of new role.

From my experience, most of the business needs can be catered by the very basic technology solutions which exist. Generally, it is said to be 80/20 rule, but I am sure that in this case, it is 90/10. 90% of the business needs can easily be solved by the 10% technology present in the world. As a tech savvy person, we are lured by the remaining 90% and tend to deviate from the actual problem statement which business has put in front of us.

If 10% technology can solve needs then why not all companies are smart? 

The most common thing I have found is that we just over engineer things. If you look at problem statement they are not really complex from the tech perspective. We tend to over think on solution spending time on handling edge cases and making the solution complex. If you just breakdown problem statement and phase it down you will actually solve the problem and also the problems which might happen in future.
You can argue by saying that we should be foresightful about things we are building, I agree with that! But don’t foresight in very far future because your far future depends on your actions on future and your future depends on your action you take now, so let’s always solve the problem for future. If you are solving for future you will actually solve the far future problem in the future!
Facebook is a classic example. Look at it now! It was not like this couple of years back. Had it thought about building what it is today on its inception it would have never reached this scale.

So what are 10% things which will consume 90% technology?

Honestly, it depends on from case to case, but you will face them only at scale, not immediately. In very rare cases where you are already building something for scale, you might need to think about 90% of technology from day 1. If you ask me for an example: Building Adhar card is something, where you would have to think about it building at scale.
Another good metric, which can be used to decide if you are outside 90/10 rule is that, how fast can you iterate. If the iteration cycles are huge, you are probably an exception to this rule.  If your iteration cycles are huge, then you might need to give deeper thought to it. Either make it smaller or plan ahead.
Hence I suggest that solve your business problem first, build a great user experience, satisfy your stakeholders and then focus on solving the complex problems.