“The Intelligent Enterprise” and “Connected People” are the two themes for the world of tomorrow. The Internet’s impact is still in its infancy. Corporates and Consumers are both being profoundly impacted by the Internet. In the last 5 years, we have seen the visible impact of the Net primarily on people, and the way they communicate, get access to information and how they buy. Companies are only now beginning to start leveraging the Net for more than just putting up websites.
The Net does many things for companies – it works as a distribution system, a marketplace, a communications channel. It gives companies the ability to alter the way business is being done by making companies technology-driven. Unlike in the past where technology was peripheral to the business, it is now moving to the core. The Net is changing the way companies interact with their constituents – employees, suppliers, and customers. Think of the three key drivers here as Enterprise Information Portals, Supply Chain Management and Customer Relationship Management. These are the drivers for eBusiness in the future.
For Consumers, we are moving to an always-on, connected world. Irrespective of where we are, we can always get connected to the Net. This connectivity will come in many different ways – by a telephone line or cable at home, by DSL at work, and by wireless when we are mobile. How will people change when the connection to the Net is a given? How will their interactions with others and companies change in such a world?
As growth in the computer off-take slows, this is being more than made up by increased usage of handhelds and cellphones. In these devices, form factor becomes an issue. Bandwidth is also being dramatically impacted: for us at home in India, from perhaps a 4x increase over the past 4 years, this will explode to a 100x or more increase in the next 2-3 years for perhaps a 5-10x increase in cost. The incredible price-performance ratio of chips and communications makes impossible things which have not yet been imagined.
The number of interactions we have in a day go up. Managing these interactions becomes a challenge. Just in the last 6 years, I have seen probably a 10x increase in the number of things I am doing daily as a manager and the number of people I am expected to interact with on a regular basis. What will we need to cope in this connected world? These are where some of the opportunities of tomorrow lie.
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