The View through a Transformational Window

Blue Mounds horizon

Photo by Mark Baker

For about the third time in my career, I’m sensing a seismic shift in the IT world. The first was in the early 1990s, pre-Y2K, when the realization hit that we were moving from mainframes to distributed computing. Networking dramatically changed the way users could communicate, collaborate and exchange information.

The second was the bust and the subsequent transition to personal web-based tools. Seemingly overnight, iTunes, Kindle, Amazon, web email and various photo sharing options burst on the scene. Then fast forward to the next evolution that included social networking, YouTube, Netflix—etc., etc., etc.

Now, we are at a transformation window for the third time. In the business world, this translates to cloud-based computing, mobile platforms, high-speed wireless networks— again, etc., etc., etc. Factors driving these developments include:

  • The economy. It’s now truly global, increasingly competitive and 24/7. A multitude of significant issues in significant arenas (trade markets, freedom/security/privacy, environment, health, poverty and more) affect individual and companies worldwide, not just by country or geographic region.
  • Generational and demographic changes. How people connect with and use technology is as varied as each individual. Not only can users customize their experience, but it can be personalized to a market of one.
  • Technology.  Virtually unlimited communication bandwidth, storage capacity and power of computing is all available at low prices accessible to many.

The result of all this is a very different set of expectations from consumer/users in the marketplace. Better-faster-cheaper is the new norm. Rapid and transformational change is the new norm. Unfettered access to information, communication and ideas is the new norm.

This all begs the question: What are our greatest and best opportunities? Let’s take advantage of what is on the horizon before this window closes and we are on to the next.

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