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Live from IMPACT – The Impact of Technology on Business

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Next up is a business session on the impact of technology on business. The good news is that the IBM wireless is working in this room and I have managed to find a power outlet (though not without moving a chair and sitting under the loudspeakers).

Mark Chapman of IBM’s Business Services Strategy group introduced the session and started by talking about “The World is Flat”. Collaborative Innovation is now critical, with ideas coming from outside the company. Business Model Innovation is also growing in importance. Companies doing both – more collaboration and more business model innovation – were growing faster and making more money. He then introduced Ray Hammond and the wireless internet failed (back to Verizon).

Ray Hammond, a “Futurologist”, has just published a new book called The World in 2030 (about which I will no doubt blog). Ray is a great speaker, very animated. He calls himself a futurologist because he feels that a lack of words for the technological future makes it hard to discuss it. When technology is first created, we come up with strange names like horseless carriage or magic lantern. What do we call an always-on, always connected, everyone to everyone environment we are building? He has 6 drivers of which he is “sure”

  1. World Population Explosion
    Where will we find the food, water and energy for all these people?
  2. Climate Crisis
    It does not matter if this is natural or a consequence of human activity, we must take action. With a 30 year time lag and erratic weather beginning now, action is required.
  3. Looming energy crisis
    Oil won’t run out because it will become too expensive for anything except the most critical things as it becomes rarer. For instance, 8% of oil is used to produce plastics etc, yet the value of this 8% is about the same as the 92% used for transportation. Reuse and recycling of this plastic is also possible so this is where oil will go. Solar and Wind must be developed and all the other renewals along with them.
  4. Globalization
    Globalization should be the power for peace in the world as hope and opportunity should be driven by globalization and hope and opportunity are the best counter act to desperation and terrorism.
  5. Switch from curative medicine to preventative medicine
    Personal DNA profiling to match medicines and stem cell based medicine he thinks will add 20-30 more years of life to everyone in the audience.
  6. Expanding and exponential technological development
    This results in a bewildering rate of change. He thinks that at around 2030 we reach the “singularity” where computers should, in theory, be more capable than humans. He thinks that this can be managed as we will learn as we go

He believes that companies will increasingly become service providers thanks to the always on, networked environment. Air conditioner companies become suppliers of cold air, BMW sells “subscribers” the experience of driving a BMW through leasing and monitoring. Printing companies install the printing machines and sell the capacity of the machine, managing it remotely as the technology now allows suppliers to be “virtually present”.

Money and wealth are virtual. He believes that companies will start to generate a new kind of wealth – Business Process Intellectual Capital. Proctor and Gamble, for instance, is starting to discuss how much of this BPIC it has.

In the future, companies will do business in a way that allows them to record everything – every physical thing is monitored and all activities are recorded. When a project is complete, huge volumes of information are available. What is the value of this information asset, for instance to someone who wants to do something similar. This value cannot yet be monetized but one day it will be both internally and externally and recognized as an intellectual property asset. EDM, Enterprise Decision Management, with its focus on capturing the rules and doing predictive analytics from the data, should be able to play a crucial role here.

A very fun session and I will look forward to reading and reviewing the book.

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