My first introduction to computing was through a computer game “Prince of Persia” – I was a 10th grader then. My elder brothers and sisters used the PC for their works and I was only allowed to play for certain hours a day. We used to have those large 5inch and 3.5inch floppy discs on PC. We used to count storages and RAMs in megabytes and kilobytes. It was windows 3.1 days. Computers were for real business and productive purpose primarily. Technology was for few genius people to deal with. In many places, we used to see roles like “Computer Operators”. It was the early 1990’s.
My son has turned five this year. He uses the MacBook Pro of my wife. He goes to Youtube and watches video of his own choice. I used to wonder how someone uses Youtube without knowing the spellings! And I found my answer one day. My son was quite annoyed with the MacBook that day and at one point of his frustration he expressed – “…It is not working! I want to watch ben 10. Why can’t it understand!?” I stepped in and checked. He was talking about the suggested videos. All the while, he used to browse Youtube based on the suggested links. And this time the suggested video links do not contain the video link of “ben 10”. This is 2014!
Technology has made our lives colorful and better. The introduction as well as massive proliferation of smart devices has made a huge change in the lifestyle of almost every people; enhanced and high capacity communication infrastructure has truly connected the world. All these have happened quite a few years back even though many of us are yet to realize this even today. The landscape is changing every moment. I have tried to list the 5 major technology landscape changers that should be noticed. In 2014, it is more of a change in the mindset and change industry dynamics rather hardcore technology innovation to watch out.
Technology Usage Decision Making Power has moved to users from Technology Department
Whether we accept or not – our users take their own technology decisions! We – the CTOs, CIOs and the team – can no longer decide for our users what they can/should use for their functions. Let me give an example. I was in a discussion with a large MVNO. They were using a WhatsApp internally to track the activities of their sales promoters. The promoters would move in the market, take photographs of different on ground activities with locations and time stampings, and would send to a WhatsApp group as part of their regular reporting. It was so convenient for them that they refused their traditional CRM.
These days, users are exposed to the entire world and have the access (may be much better) to technology, platforms and applications. They accept solutions suggested by the so-called Technology department only if that meets their expectations. Otherwise, they would sort it out on their own. They are more empowered on their own. And, this empowerment is not facilitated by the Organizational Policy always, but Organizational Policy will never be able to block this empowerment without causing business risk.
Collaboration is the Name of the Game
It is not anymore “partnering” with your outsourcing company…it is now real collaboration! It’s no longer a cost game either. We need our suppliers to add value to our final delivery and for that we need to add value to their capacity as well. Business engagement models are changing around this approach these days. We can see a huge no. of contracts being done on Revenue Share basis. Even advertising agencies are working on GRP based pricing in many cases.
Collaborating with the value chain participants and focusing on real value delivery across the chain is a key difference maker now. This is the only sustainable success model this age. If we want sustainability, we have to be collaborative!
Information Technology, Telecommunication and Consumer Electronics have expanded their boundaries and started producing cross-domain products and services
Now, there is no boundary among IT, Telecom and Consumer Electronics. They have joined hands and started functioning together. We can see Telecom Networks providing IT services and IT Companies providing telephony services.
IT companies like Apple, Microsoft have become communication service providers through their devices and apps (facetime, Skype etc). Independent application development companies are coming up with devices e.g. Mozilla. Website companies are bringing in consumer devices and emerging as communication service providers (Google through nexus, hangout/talk etc). In many cases, we can even see consumer electronic products establishing their own network and functioning together. Samsung, Sony, Lenovo almost everyone is trying to expand their boundaries.
Content rules and will continue to rule
Users care only about the value they are getting. Technology, Platform and Devices are style and excitement factors undoubtedly but that crush and excitement have come to a stability now. With the rise of communication enhancements, access to contents has never been so easy. We can access almost any content from anywhere. The information gap we used to have earlier is fading away. Viewers can no longer be bullied to see the same old TV channel(s) if they are not excited about it. We do not accept the music, movie, book anything that we do not like. We have access to myriad options. We pick only the ones that we really like!
We have experienced the high traffic to certain websites, TV channels, IVR services when there are relevant contents and also have seen the traffic going down over a period of few days. During EPL, Football World cup, the channels covering them live experience significant high traffic/viewership than the ones that do not cover them – at least for a certain segment. Even brands like Blackberry is suffering because of the unavailability of many quality contents and apps.
It is the contents and services that matter most for the users than the technology and platform behind that make them available!
We are human, we need personalized touch!
Importance of humane interaction and personalized attention have become more important in our lives. The technology connect has made the information exchange convenient to everyone. Now, it’s a level playing field for all. A real human voice and a face-to-face meeting over some tea and coffee is becoming more and more valuable every day. More often, I face a situation after few Skype calls or email exchange – “Hey…let’s meet and discuss!” It’s the body language that speaks a lot more. And that is missing in con-calls and emails.
These are my very own observations and realizations. Will be glad to hear from you about your take away from 2014!
The author is the CEO of ssd-tech. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.