We are at a unique intersection in history. Moore’s Law, The Hype Cycle and Rodger’s Bell Curve, cloud computing and big data are intersecting like a ball hitting a baseball bat. That is another way of saying, things are changing really fast.
In particular, the adoption of new technologies is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Consider the adoption of memory storage innovations. For many years, the accepted technology was hard drives, and CD-ROM, technologies that have been available since the 70’s. Flash drives entered the market within the last decade, and sales peaked in 2011. About two years ago, technologies that back-up computer files nightly for a monthly fee (such as Carbonite) rose to prominence, only to be disrupted again by Dropbox, and Evernote. These applications came out of nowhere and are free. The adoption curve is steeper than it has ever been.
In fact, adoption is occurring so fast that failure to actively assess new technology can be catastrophic. Companies that wait too long to utilize technology may be replaced by companies with better systems and more useful information. For years, companies like Google, WalMart, Marriot and Harrah’s have been using superior analytics to squash competition.
Peter Drucker, (perhaps the greatest management mind of our generation) emphasized the need to increase the productivity of the knowledge worker.
We are seeing Drucker’s theory play out, where companies are seeking to increase their revenue while maintaining headcount. Revenue per employee must increase for companies to sustain profit improvements and it is technology that creates such momentum.
Small and mid-sized firms should be particularly aware as technology is the great equalizer. The cloud will allow for the creation of a new wave of systems that will integrate seamlessly and at a lower cost. In a sense, all companies will become technology companies, and technology will continue to be key to competitive advantage.
Of course, companies will have to make wagers on selecting the right technologies and adopt them at the right time. The complexity of this market only reinforces the need to have the right technology people on the bus, whether they be employed or contracted.
No company can be lulled to sleep with their existing solutions and tools. The emergence of everything from CRM to content management, enterprise resource planning, etc. has only increased the number of layers of the onion. If you get behind on technology, you may never catch up.
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