The Postdigital Age: Is Your Enterprise Ready?
Few companies can ignore that approximately two billion people around the world are using the Internet for communications, information and commercei. We’re clearly in the Digital Age. But what’s next?
Some say we’re entering the Postdigital Age when these new technologies will be implemented and integrated into each facet of the enterprise. Are we? Or is this just a futurist’s wishful thinking?
Here’s the debate:
|It’s a pipe dream.
Consultants love coming up with reasons why we need to change the way we’re doing business. I don’t bet on tech futures.
|It’s a business revolution.
These five forces are innovation tools that some savvy companies are using to disrupt business as usual. Ignoring them could be an even bigger risk.
| What’s that got to do with us?
Maybe high tech companies can hang on digital’s bleeding edge, but I have all the technology I need to deliver our products and services.
|If you snooze, you could lose.
No industry or business is immune. Car rentals, book publishing and movie studios are a few of the industries that have already been disrupted, with more to follow.
|Maybe, if you’re selling to teenagers.
My customers are adults who like to do business the old fashioned way: person to person.
|That may be true today, but not tomorrow.
Adults are quickly becoming digital natives. Research shows that 79 percent of U.S. adults access the Internet, 49 percent use a social media siteii and 35 percent own a smartphoneiii .
|We run lean and mean.
Mid-size companies typically don’t have “spare” IT resources available to tackle these issues.
|Size is irrelevant.
Emerging technology levels the innovation playing field. Public cloud technology can offer organizations of any size the ability to promptly test new ideas, especially in the areas of mobility, analytics and social.
Mark White, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Each of these emerging technologies can be a rapidly evolving force for change. But companies that purposefully combine two (or more) may hold the power to create fundamentally new ways to serve their markets.
There have always been forces in the marketplace that affect businesses, but we’re at an unusual time – perhaps a rare time – when there are five major forces that are technology-based. Mobility, analytics, social, cloud computing and cyber intelligence are relatively new and rapidly evolving. I anticipate that they will soon become an integral part of our personal and business lives.
These five forces can create opportunities for disrupting ‘business as usual’ for those who master them early – especially when two or more are combined. We’ve already seen it happen in several industries. Mobility and social media are transforming how we shop. Analytics and cloud computing have changed how we buy books and watch movies. So far, all five have not been effectively combined in one disruptive swoop, but I suspect more than one company is working on it.
In the 1990s, business leaders were focused on reengineering their processes, using technology as a tool to do what they had consistently done – but better, cheaper and faster. In the early 2000s, the spread of digital technology helped them to take their business global. Today, many leading companies are creating new ways to meet the needs of individuals – customers, employees and suppliers – who expect to do business anywhere, anytime. Their innovations are disrupting business as usual – launching us into a new business era – the Postdigital Era -- and these five emerging technologies can provide the power.
iITU World Telecommunications/ICT indicators database http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/.
iiPew Internet and American Life Project, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks/Part-2.aspx?view=all, accessed on November 30, 2011.
iiiPew Internet and American Life Project, May 2011, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx, accessed on November 30, 2011.
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