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From the Cannabis Diaries: Mind the Technology Gap

By Matt Leathers

Cannabis industry watchers assume that when the giants start moving aggressively,the changes will be seismic. Private equity and venture capital are moving into the space, along with internal M&A teams. Smaller providers will need to grow and scale without losing their focus on quality.

As the regulatory fog dissipates and the green gold rush attracts corporate players, only the resilient will scale, survive, and thrive. Make no mistake. There will be blood. Amazon. CVS. Target. People often confuse media coverage or age with resilience, particularly when it comes to a business. Yet age has little to do with resilience or success.

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Years ago, I worked for a leading financial services provider. Our mobile payments solution had iOS and Android apps available. Corporate IT made us carry BlackBerries to access our corporate email.

Trade show demonstrations had to be carefully orchestrated to maintain our cover as trustworthy innovators. Startups ran circles around us as we were adapting to regulatory changes and evolving standards while developing new products and clashing with corporate compliance mandates.

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This pressure to innovate, grow, and simultaneously operate, without losing quality, will be familiar for the cannabis industry. This fall, I served as the interim CIO for one of the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis firms.

During this time, I saw familiar patterns, problems, and solutions from projects past of entities in other industries prepping for a liquidity event. When we started the engagement, we found that past acquisitions used different systems and technology footprints. IT outages hurt the business. Projects were underperforming. Our network and infrastructure were unreliable. Technology would either enable business growth or drag it down, kicking and screaming. 5 months later, the job remains unfinished, but the transformation is well underway. [Read More @ The Cannabis Diaries]

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