by Guest Blogger Michael Harrison
As a business consultant I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds on the planet – experts at everything from assessing insurable risk to selling widgets on the Internet.
I speak at business conferences, industry and association conventions, big groups, small groups, and sometimes, I speak with one person – the owner, the decision maker, the person who can best implement suggestions.
One big problem I face when meeting with business leaders is the pervasive belief that the way things are today is the way they’ll be forever, and we all know that’s not true. Just look at how digital technology has changed everything – commerce, politics, information access, privacy – it wasn’t that long ago that identity theft was a “new” crime.
The business segment of our economy is a high-octane, rocket-fuelled, worldwide pressure cooker, and as a small business owner, it’d be prudent to generate your “best-guess” Plan B because today, the economy changes at awesome speed – the speed of digital.
Don’t believe me?
Whatever happened to:
- fax machine
- wired mouses
- screen savers
- CRT monitors
- desk top computers
- laptop computers
- a DVD driver disk
- a music CD
Oh, sure, you have some desktop workstations in the home office, and managers still connect to the main server via laptop, but today, many of us use tablets and smartphones to access the Internet, and the percentage of Internet access using a tablet or smartphone is growing – extremely fast.
The Internet changed everything, creating new trends and new opportunities for small and large businesses and the Internet will continue to be a growing access point to your business, whether you’re global, regional, or a local shop on Main Street. Buyers and prospective consumers of services are more and more likely to find you on the Internet.
The Internet will continue to become increasingly integrated into daily life. Today, as a TV program is broadcast, watchers can send Tweets that appear as a crawl at the bottom of the screen. I can log on to the Internet using my TV remote! The distinction between TV and computer is less obvious, and you bet that trend is going to continue.
Sensors: You Don’t Think About Them But They’re EVERYWHERE
Another trend is the use of sensors. Sensors open store doors, scan items at the checkout, count the number of widgets that pass by. Today’s cars have sensors that automatically brake when a distracted driver is about to hit the wall.
These sensors are already ubiquitous, but the trend is the use of more of these tools to handle mundane business activity so management can focus on the big picture – growing the business!
The Concept Of Work Will Change
Work will no longer be “a place.” It will be an activity that occurs anywhere, at any time.
The workplace, itself, will change. Outsourcing key services enables your company to grow without requiring additional space to do it. Flexi time will become an increasingly popular benefit to attract young professionals with family obligations.
Employee retention will continue to grow in importance as recruitment and training costs continue to rise.
The downside to this is you’re working all the time – you never get away from it. You’re connected by smartphone, tablet, LANs and WANs. I always encourage business leaders to disconnect and leave the office behind. We all need downtime – especially business managers with diverse responsibilities.
Technology Will Take Over
Technology will continue to become integrated into our lives, our work, the products we use, and the services we consume.
However, as technology takes over more and more business activity, we won’t take longer vacations. We won’t use that newly-found free time to relax. We’ll just do more on the job.
Frankly, when I talk with business leaders – the movers in their industries – I’ve learned that these men and women love what they do. To them, technology isn’t a threat. It’s embraced as a means of boosting productivity…
…and that’s what business is all about.