Cisco’s Chambers on Tech’s Future

From a Fortune article entitled Finding a Silver Lining in the Tech Bust:

What tech manufacturers need is the same thing that made them powerful in the first place: a new technology that corporate America believes it can’t do without. That was true of the PC in the 1980s, and it was true of networking and the Internet in the 1990s.

What will that technology be? If you want the big picture, it still makes sense to listen to Cisco’s Chambers. Last month, in a speech at a Bank of America conference in San Francisco, he explained that we are far from seeing the potential of all the equipment bought and advances made during the boom. For all companies’ bluster about outsourcing arrangements, Net-based streamlining, and virtual supply chains, there’s still much to do. Throughout corporate America, files are sitting undigitized and forms have yet to go online. Once all that becomes available on private and public webs, Chambers told his audience, it will create a fluidity of information that will profoundly change business.

If the thinkers like Chambers are right, the meaning of the word “corporation” will change. Armed with the flexibility of moving and sharing information instantaneously with whomever they choose, companies will slim down to focus on doing one thing well, say designing computer chips, and outsource everything else from payroll and accounting to manufacturing and distribution. “It will be the most fundamental change to business since the assembly line,” Chambers says. “It’s amazing to me how many businesspeople around the world tell me ‘that’s exactly where we are going to go.’ ”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.