Gartner and many more analyst firms are downscaling their total forecast of IT spend moving from the last quarters of 2013 into 2014. While some notable companies will obviously increase their spend in IT for growth or refresh, there seems to be a general underlying message that virtualization and density of systems or software are reducing the demand for PC’s and low end servers.
While this is disconcerting for many IT hardware and software companies, this may signal an increase in a different kind of computing – the nomadic human brain. For more than a century, anthropologists observed the decline of cyclical or periodic movement people around the globe to meet their basic needs – food, shelter, etc. – due to the evolution of large agricultural systems. What happens when IT consumers have the shackles of large IT systems taken off? They have the opportunity to go back to their roots of nomadic, socially focused behaviors. The shift back to human computing isn’t what hardware companies want to hear but it could provide significant benefits to all other organizations in productivity.
Evolving transportation, spend on tourism, space exploration and moving to smaller devices does showcase that there is a significant population that prefers periodic, cyclical, and opportunistic movement. This is where the shift in computing changes. Bionics, technology enhanced human activities, is alive and well in the pockets of more than 1 billion people on the planet but computational capacity has always existed in the human mind and it multiplies when people congregate together - “2 brains better than one.”
With more pervasive use of mobile technology and the integration of that technology, the opportunity for people to sit in the same room, collaborate, and leverage not just the technology but also the eons of computing inside their head. Social and data scientists should be grinning at this point as they see a treasure trove of knowledge merged with benefits advocated by technology based collaboration solutions.
There is a cost to nomadism if the company is paying for it, but strong inherent desire for people to travel can be an asset just like that computer inside employee pockets and affixed inside their head. While traveling on both business and pleasure, I’m hardly ever without my mobile device, I consistently mix business into nearly every conversation I have with new people, and when I make a business connection, I eventually wind up bringing that connection to the company I work for – FREE OF CHARGE. On a micro-poll of my personal network, this behavior is consistent across the globe. It is important for employers to realize that great connections, prequalification of resources or new business come not from an expensive CRM system or cloud apps pushed into the PC, but from the low cost technology of a happy employee.
Satisfied employees are a topic for a different blog, however most organizations should be looking past the forecast of lower investments in technology as an indication of the coming economy and realize that an innovation renaissance is coming with the support of mobile technology extending the capacity of small and large groups of human computers – Nomadic, bionic employees.