What’s in a change? Position yourself as a professional working for an organisation, connected in any form of technology, personal and professional, and living in an economic condition induced by global market factors.
What initiates change? Is the smart phone you are using is a consequence of business imperatives? Does the current state of the world economy produce new business rules or new business trends? Or is the megatrend technologies (smart phones, tablets, social networks, etc.) we are absorbed in are derivatives of business trends? We have the three horsemen of change – The Global Economy, the Emerging Technologies and new Business Trends.
They are the pillars of change. Each horseman paves way to new beginning from personal level to a global scale. Change that affects on the way we live – our professional life, our daily lifestyle, our tech-style or in our fashion-style. Or change that reverberates worldwide affecting business practices, megatrend technologies and the global market.
But who sparks change – is it Mr. New Business Trends or Mr. Megatrend Technology? Or it may be Madam Global Economy? The fact is each one influences the other, and they change each other. But who changes who? Where does it begin?
Today’s Global Economy – the New Normal Market
First let us begin with today’s economic landscape. The Oxford Economics calls it the ‘New Normal Economy’. The giant economies, lead by the US that dominated world markets in the last three decades are now afflicted unending woes with debt and banking turmoil. We are seeing the worst performance of the green bucks, now on the verge of collapse.. In contrast, the ‘stable economies’, China, India and Brazil among them, in the past are now the new pace-setters of market dominance in the global stage. This is the New Normal Economy, the global market growth is shifting to these emerging markets.
Does technology drive business change?
In shift to the New Normal Economy, did the emerging technology have the hand in the change? Were the new business trends catalysts in the shift? The answer is we first ask the right question in the right order. We’d rather ask, does the accelerated use of new technologies an impetus to new business practices? Yes! The on-line scenery, the On-line way of doing business’ in the business world cannot be denied.. We submit our registrations, whether from making a booking in the cinema or purchasing a plane ticket, over the Net. Technology creates a seismic change in business practices. Major newspapers are closing shops, otherwise shifting to on-line paper. The age-old paperwork business practice is replaced by paperless technology approach.
Do business imperatives spark new technologies?
Not so long ago, sales team made their presentation using catalogues or pamphlets stored in the attaché case. They wanted however an electronic and portable materials that they could carry around with them so presentation could be carried out randomly and instantaneously. In those days, that only time an elegant presentation could be made possible is a planned sales meet-up with prospective clients in a function room equipped with a huge overhead projector.
Fast forward to the present a laptop would be a bit of overkill, relatively bulky, heavy and big. A laptop is a computer with processing power for computing. A laptop is not exactly what they need. What they need is a much simpler device that produces good graphics and that is light and handy. No extra computing power needed. Thus, they need a tool is conducive and adaptive to making spontaneous sales pitch (and surely less complex than a laptop). Enter the tablet. Almost a panacea, the device any sales person would dream to arm themselves with in their sales battles.
Would the device be devised by the great Steve Jobs if business did not demand for its existence? The tablet is just one of those devices. Hence, business imperatives drive new technologies (rather than technology change).
Events drive business change
If there was no Internet, the supreme catalyst for change, would the way of doing business be as revolutionary as today?
During the 1990s, before Internet was wrecking havoc on standard business practices, I was appalled as I was fascinated when global business was undergoing radical change. ‘Globalization’ and ‘Business Process Reengineering’ were the stupendous buzzwords. The world economy was transforming into a one global basket for goods and services. Businesses must be able to compete globally to survive. ‘Globalization’ positioned ‘Reengineering’ on the pedestal. Reengineering was about change itself. It called on reinventing current business processes and practices to be able to effectively compete in the new global market economy.
This business phenomenon captivated me and I was challenged by my own curiosity what caused the global business transformation (in the absence of new breakthrough technologies). I was immersed by the question that Reengineering and Globalization became my Thesis (incidentally I was taking my MBA at that time). Through my research this is what I eventually wrote in my Thesis:
The end of the Cold War weakened political tension among nations and reduced the possibility of armed conflict. Potential military confrontation has paved way to economic cooperation. With the easing of political tensions the belief that a nation’s security depends on its military capability no longer stands. The paradigm has changed. Consequently, the future of a nation rests on her economic prosperity rather than military superiority. The state of world affairs was transformed from a tense political-security situation into a progressive economic cooperation. Trade barriers are falling and trade laws were liberalized thus foreign investors are free to compete nationally with any country. The fragmented economy of isolated markets that used to be became one vast global market.
My standpoint, a 2-cent worth
The change in business practices could derive from state of global economy and not necessarily due to the intervention of technology. Does technology drive world economic order to change? No. Political events, market forces and economic cooperation among nations can change the landscape of world economy..
Thus, when you experience a change in your job say, a restructuring of business processes in your organisation, then technology could be the culprit. When new technologies emerge to potentially change or exploit the way of doing business, then business itself might have demanded its creation. When the climate of doing business has changed that business rules have to be changed or reengineered if it is to remain competitive and survive the new market, then the shift of global economic conditions is the catalyst rather than just technology.
In summation when there is change, in personal or professional level, involving technology, business or the economy think of the three horsemen of change. One of them has sparked the change.