If you look at Yahoo or Hoover's industry sector list and then analyse emerging technology trends, it is obvious that most of these new technologies cuts across industries, sectors and domains. Interestingly, this kind of cohesion is not driven by conglomerates like GE or P&G, but by much smaller companies that use technology as a framework to switch between industry sectors and geographies seamlessly. As a result, technology brings a new dimension to building and scaling businesses. For instance, the possibility that a gaming company like Rovio or Zynga could potentially challenge gaming giants like Sony, Nintendo or Electronic Arts would have been unfathomable a few years ago.
Is technology an enabler of business?
I am convinced that debates whether technology is in fact an enabler of business have been resolved successfully and companies that lack focus, commitment and investments in technology would soon become obsolete. In fact, I think that technology is soon going to be an integral part of the business itself rather than simply functioning as a tool, enabler or impediment.
Never before in history have we seen such an interesting confluence of technology-led innovations and corresponding changes in social and consumer behaviours. Smarter companies therefore are going to have the CIO directly report to the CEO and give them a place on the board so that they can drive key strategies and help companies gain competitive advantage.
Convergence - unprecedented and unbelievable
Take companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Starbucks. In the beginning, these companies only focused on a particular set of products and services. However, with time and as technology and customer demands began to evolve, these companies began to reinvent their business models, products and services to remain relevant to their target audience. Today, you cannot pick a single company in this list and say clearly that they belong to an industry group. They are kind of mushroomed around everywhere.
The way Starbucks had technology and creativity woven into its services, products and customer experience is an example of a non-technology company embracing technology actively and staying ahead. They offered free Wi-Fi service, when others were contemplating it and we have witnessed the proof of that pudding quite well.
It's all happening lightning fast
Can you imagine that Netflix and Best Buy are on the verge of losing their customers only a few years after challenging and wiping off their key competitors? Or that Sony is looking to stem customer outflow after its strong presence a few years ago? This reveals a lot about the nature of customer loyalty towards a brand.
Technology has also changed the way companies grow and mature. Companies with multi-billion dollar market valuations are closed down in a few years while the unprecedented powers provided by social media and mobile technology, can transform start-ups to big companies in a matter of days.
Before we split
The technology transformation happening today is irreversible and it's happening at lightning speed. Technology is here to stay and will soon become part of the core business DNA, a major differentiator and a critical success factor for a company's survival and growth.