As almost every aspect of business strategy in the Digital Age — from advertising, to manufacturing, to customer service, to distribution — is becoming increasingly dependent on its IT department, staying competitive in your market means staying ahead of the pack by investing in information technology.

It’s hard to talk about the importance of adopting the latest tech in business without sounding like a broken record. The Internet is some two decades old, and now that we’re so familiar with it, many of us have to resist the urge to scoff when someone lectures us about IT’s value to our business.

It’s likely that your company already has high-tech systems in place that manage internal productivity, customers’ needs and complaints, the transfer of raw materials, and so much more. With your business already so reliant on the web, how could anyone accuse you of not being fully modernized?

A New Era

But the challenge for executives everywhere isn’t with the technology we use today — it’s with the rate at which it’s changing. Machine-to-machine technology and the Internet of Things will both change the way we do business much in the same way the original Internet did in the mid-90’s. The difference today is that, instead of waiting for that change, forward-thinking executives are looking to author it.

The development of IT infrastructure is hugely dependent on investment from the business world. Those companies that have a hand in that development will be leveraging their contributions for years, even decades to come.

Most modern business executives understand their situation. A report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that “57% of the business and technology leaders surveyed view IT as an investment that drives innovation and growth.”

Unfortunately, most people in the business world don’t feel very prepared for that growth. According to a study cited by Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2015 report, “51% of CIOs agree that the torrent of digital opportunities threatens both business success and their IT organizations’ credibility.”

Investment in Innovation

So how do we solve this problem of confidence as we approach a brand new digital age? It’s a complicated, multifaceted problem with many different possible approaches, but each of those approaches should involve the same first step: investment in IT.

That doesn’t just mean throwing money at technology, either. Investment means taking deliberate steps towards making this sector of your business as transparent, efficient, and daring as possible.

It’s about analyzing each ledger of its balance sheet for reward and risk, and about aligning your digital and business strategies. It’s about allocating resources for experimentation to encourage innovation, not shackling it to budgetary restrictions.

New technologies result in new business models, and executives that don’t start researching and developing tomorrow’s strategies might find their current ones disrupted. As important as executive leadership is, it’s the faith in your employees to experiment, innovate, and drive growth that will prepare your company for the latest tech trends.