Three Technology Trends Your Company Can't Ignore: Page 2

Just-in-time training using cloud computing, virtual processing and creative applications of technology are key efficiency drivers.
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Now your handheld device is as powerful and advanced as your desktop. Imagine the increase in productivity if each of your company’s employees had the capability to do complex work that required advanced processing power while they were on the road, armed with nothing more than their mobile device. What would that shift do to your company’s bottom line?

3. Creative Application of Technology

For both of these trends and others to fully emerge, business leaders have to consider what their people would do with the technology. It’s no longer enough to just deploy technology; you also have to consider how your people can creatively apply the technology in order to gain competitive advantage.

Therefore, you need to go to your internal customers (all the people using the technology in the enterprise) and ask what they want technologically. Give them what they ask for, but realize that they will under-ask because they don’t know what’s technically possible.

So while you want to listen to what people in the organization are asking for and give it to them, realize that what they’re not asking for is the bigger and better capabilities – the things they don’t even know are possible.

The key is to go to the next level and give people the ability to do what they currently can’t do, but would want to do, if they only knew they could. After all, people really didn’t ask for an iPhone or a Blackberry. The hidden need was the ability to access their email and Internet without being tied to their desktop or laptop.

This is about putting existing technologies together and using them in a creative way. For example, there are literally thousands of features in Microsoft Word that you can select. Most people are using only seven to ten features. And your competitors are using the same features, which means you’re not getting any true competitive advantage.

So you need to ask, “What features would be great for our sales group [or HR, or accounting department, or logistics people, etc.] to use – features that are so buried in the software that no one knows they exist?” Most IT departments won’t ask those questions because they’re too busy making sure everything is connected, working well, and safe. And if they’re not asking, who is?

Who in your organization is looking at the tools you already have and asking if they are being underused? Chances are the answer is “no one.” As such, it’s safe to say that all your tools are underutilized.

Therefore, you need to implement a communication vehicle that engages the different groups you serve in the enterprise – such as sales, logistics, purchasing, accounting, HR, etc.—and you need to engage them in helping them understand the power of the tools they have access to.

One suggestion is to automatically show them a “feature of the day” and how it can make their life easier. This is about giving them information in short, fun, engaging ways rather than a hundred-page document detailing all the features (which no one will read anyway). Some software programs have such features where you get a tip per day. Perhaps you can customize that idea and apply it internally so that the different groups get information tailored specifically to them and their needs.

Create Your Company’s Future

Many business leaders will say they are too busy to address any of these trends. But if you don’t address them, who will?

Ultimately, whoever drives these trends within an organization will be perceived as a significant contributor to the enterprise – someone worth keeping…and someone with high value in the marketplace. When that someone is you, you can drive results to the bottom line and be a key contributor to the organization’s success.

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends. For more information, please visit: www.burrus.com.

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