The magnitude of growth and change in technology during the past decades have been unfathomable. As discussed in the ‘Four Global Forces’ article from McKinsey, the industrial revolution from a couple centuries ago was the one force that changed everything. Now we are experience four disruptive forces, ‘any of which would rank among the greatest changes the global economy has ever seen.’ With such rapid development, companies are forced to adapt if they want to remain competitive.
For example, social technologies are becoming a vital part of company structure. As mentioned in the ‘Ten IT-enabled business trends’ article, social technologies are becoming a vital social matrix, where its existence and usage is critical for connecting and dealing with employees, customers, and even supplier. Social technologies are being used to connect employees together, either for problem solving or general communications. It also allows rapid, accurate and easy information disbursement, which makes it easier to create specialized knowledge teams or knowledge base that can be used to shorten the product life cycle and increase response time. All of which can help the company’s bottom line and increase brand loyalty thru happy customers. Social technologies can also be used to provide customers with social experiences to maximize their ability to provide input and to access products. One instance being including customers in commercial engagements to ‘create’ new products.
While certain technologies are necessary just to stay on trend with the market and remain relevant, other technologies are vastly increasing the efficiency and profitability of company. The most interesting to me was the trend of being able to delivery everything as a service. That trend would not have been feasible decades ago, because the cost to manage those services would either be impossible or very costly to manage and maintain. But with the rapidly developing technology, and the automation of knowledge work (“Ten IT-Enabled Trends”), those management become fast, low cost, and efficient. Enabling companies to either save money, or make money by maximizing efficient use of assets, while providing a flexible operating model. An interesting example is companies with truck fleets renting out idle trucks by the hour or day. This trend of fully utilizing of the company asset is made possible by technology advancements that allow the company to easily track usage and rentals, and being able to bill for those rentals. This is beneficial to both the company providing the asset and the customer renting it, as the company is able to make profit off of unused asset/capital, thus realizing full profit potential, while the customer is able to access something that would have otherwise been inaccessible due to the large investment necessary.
All these changes are forcing companies and people to continual adapt in order to not be left behind and to increase efficiency and productivity. Company need to learn to integrate and people may have to learn to manage technology to do the work they previously did, to not be fully replaced by the more efficient machines.