As change accelerates, technology is making a big difference to our personal and business lives. Let us summarise the trends that we are seeing.
- A Pervasive, Ubiquitous computing environment with always-on connectivity: broadband, wireless (optics, 2.5/3G) at low prices, IP networks, data everywhere
- Distributed Computing: power at the edge, little difference between LAN and WAN, P2P
- Multimedia: event and experiential web, voice – input/output/transmission, streaming
- Software: increasing need for it, along with a requirement to speed up development via tools/building blocks, people needed for development and support/solutions
- Connected, Communicative Consumer (C3): Wireless Devices, Interactive Entertainment, Home Networks
- Extended, Electronic, Enterprise (E3): eBusiness Networks, Enterprise Applications (from messaging to supply chain management), Analytics, Outsourced Management and Services
What was once in abundance (time, people, management attention) is now scarce, and what was once scarce (money, computing resources, service providers) is now abundant. Companies are making significant investments in Internet-based technologies. In just six years, we have gone from Mosaic to ICQ to Napster, and a world of over 300 million Internet users. In December 2000, sales of PCs in the US dipped 24% year-on-year. Yahoo’s sales will be flat in 2001.
The first phase of the Internet euphoria is now giving way to a more deeper understanding of its potential for change and its ability to transform business. The building blocks for the next revolution – the standardisation of enterprise software and the transformation of every business to an e-business — are now in place. Writes Philip Manchester in the Financial Times:
The IT industry went through a fundamental change in the 1990s; it finally recognized the power of standardization to create huge marketsStandardization crept relentlessly up the hierarchy of information technology – from the commodity microprocessors used in every computer, to the operating systems software that makes them work. Internet connectivity even standardized communications between different computers – a long overdue pre-requisite for e-commerce.
Now it is the turn of applications – with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) leading the way. ERP also extends the principle of standardization beyond technology into business processes and promotes standardized “best practice”. Packaged customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) are built on the operational standardization provided by ERP.
In the coming columns, we will delve deeper into this change, embodied by 10 transformations being brought by information technology:
- Manufacturing Economy to Information Economy
- Mass Production to Mass Customisation
- Vertical Integration to Virtual Integration
- Internal teams to Outsourcing
- Conversation to Conference
- Request-reply to Publish-subscribe
- Client-Server to Peer-to-Peer
- Going to work to Doing work
- Hierarchy to Business Process
- Products to Services