The inevitability of Change
Part 3: The Verdict
Everyone recognises the incredible changes occurring in information and communications technologies, however what is often overlooked is the ever accelerating pace of these changes. The meteoric rise of such powerful companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter over a few short years are obvious testament to the pace of change in computing, Internet and mobile technologies.
Other less well known technologies that have been around for decades are only now starting to really accelerate in their development and impact on our society.
Take additive manufacturing (AM) for example. This incredible technology has been developing for the past thirty years, but only recently manifesting itself to the general public through the availability of 3D printers. Imagine having the facility to design and produce a 3D object on the spot or download a part and produce it there and then to rectify a faulty machine. Wearable devices are another technology that is rapidly emerging and once the tech fashion craze and social hype has passed, we will turn these devices to more practical uses like health monitoring and business.
Changes in technology will continue to feed the natural human appetite for information, knowledge and empowerment for us to take instant and appropriate action, no matter what the context, be it personal or business. Change has always been a certainty in the evolution of our world, but the pace of change in technology is such that if you don’t adapt, you run the risk of being left behind.
From a business perspective it will be unacceptable for people to be left waiting for information and or access to systems necessary to take appropriate action. Situation awareness will be the norm for all business operations, empowering all stakeholders, i.e. customers, suppliers, management and staff of a company, with real-time information and actionable tasks.
Mobile Apps in business is another fast expanding trend, but in most cases the App is fed with batch based information and reporting from traditional systems of record. As soon as you have the information, it is out of date. Real-time secure mobile access to the enterprise with transparency, collaboration and accountability across real-time operations will be standard requirements for most businesses. Reports that automatically and instantly update your app while you interrogate results on screen will be standard business requirements. The facts are that traditional ERP or accounts software engines simply do not have the capability to deliver on the new demands of future business.
Granted, many global ERP systems that have cost tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars are firmly embedded in the very fibre of major corporations across the world. These systems are unlikely to be uprooted and replaced. Instead they are constantly and painfully upgraded at enormous expense in an effort to keep pace with the changes occurring with front end technologies or systems of engagement. For everyone else thankfully, there are smarter cloud based solutions available that can future proof companies against emerging new technologies and modern business demands.
In business the need for change is unavoidable no matter when or why it occurs. With technology, companies should look to their business fundamentals first to refresh or restructure them before grasping at the latest front end technology craze. They should satisfy themselves that they are maximising the full potential of these new “systems of engagement” across their entire enterprise and not just at the front end.
Operating one part or indeed several parts of a business in isolation will not be good enough in the competitive markets of the future. The only answer is total inclusion and collaboration for every element of the enterprise, which can only be delivered by smarter and digitally connected “systems of record” with the flexibility to cope with change.
Reviewing operations is never about what the business does, it is always about how they do it.
No business is immune to change, however inertia and fear of change will kill many businesses while those that embrace technology change correctly will thrive.