Adam Hartung: In today’s world, things that we think will take a decade can often happen in 36 months. So that future problem that we think is way out in the future, might be a lot closer than we thought it was.
Jack Clare: A year ago it was Facebook. Ten years ago it was MySpace. Before that it was AOL. Whoever you think the leader and the killer app or to die for service is, it’s probably going to change.
Edie Weiner: So many people spend so much of their energy putting out yesterday's fires today. They don't even catch up to where we are, let alone prepare the ground for future growth.
Phil Fasano: Boards of directors should be most concerned about the constant change of technology and the pace of change that’s occurring in the technology industry and how that relates to the performance of the organizations that they’re responsible for governance.
Emerging Technologies, Cultural Shifts and Opportunities
What Directors Need to Know
A Brave New World
Rob Clyde: It’s just such a brave new world that is out there. You know, board members really have a challenge. I am not sure they have to be technological experts, but they do need to keep their head up, pay attention to the key themes that are out there. Right now it’s big data, it’s cloud, social and mobile.
Thaddeus Arroyo: These collective trends will lead to transformational opportunities as they are used to impact products and services, redesign business processes, and enhance customer experiences.
Jack Clare: The reality is – and I’ve made this case often to our management team – all of our business models are at risk constantly. So, we need to be open to the fact and we sort of have to be vigilant to constant change. And we’ll have to dabble in both understanding and then, you know, actually actioning activity around them to make sure we’re staying on the leading edge because at any given moment, you know, someone else is innovating in a way that might completely disrupt our industry.
Adam Hartung: The best example we have of this was a nearly bankrupt Apple computer in the year 2000, a decade later they took the disruptions of the marketplace to their benefit, adopted mobile, pushed new solutions and became the most valuable company in the stock exchange in a mere 10 years. From bankruptcy to the most valuable company in corporate America in just 10 years.
The 4 Technologies Boards Must Understand
Jack Clare: A lot of acronyms have been developed, but I think the one that has sort of coalesced the most is SMAC. So, that’s social, mobile, analytics or big data, and the cloud.
Rob Clyde: These are really changing the way that businesses can go to market, build product and make their customers even more appreciative of what they are doing.
S is for Social Media
Jack Clare: None of the marketing principles that we all studied in business school or, you know, that our marketing colleagues have grown up and developed their careers around, none of that has changed. We’ve just given them a new channel to execute it through. So, I would just offer that we should view it as nothing more than a new channel.
Phil Lageschulte: Social media creates a new way to engage with your customers or your employees or your supply-chain partners, so it’s more about communication enhancement and getting new customers.
Jack Clare: There is another aspect to social in what I’ll say is really the community sense. It’s the ability for individuals to communicate with each other and develop a sense of community as well as spread outside even their communities anything, whether that’s positive or negative about your brand. And that’s tightly coupled with mobile because all of that is largely centered around this device that everybody is now carrying in their pocket on their person.
M is for Mobility
Phil Lageschulte: Mobile technologies is about enabling not only your business from a standpoint of enterprise applications, how you present yourself in a mobile environment to a new demographic group as well as your employee base, how you support them from a mobility standpoint with a mobile workforce.
Jack Clare: Social and mobile certainly in our business as a brand-facing business is terribly impactful. Not just from a marketing opportunity, but if you think about in our restaurants we have our employees and crew members are also carrying these devices. Our corporate environment users are also carrying these devices.
So, there are an infinite number of use cases where I can develop applications and services to make them more efficient, to engage them more with our brand.
A is for Analytics – a.k.a “Big Data”
Rob Clyde: What is interesting about big data is that it allows companies and organizations to predict the future. If you think about it, for the first time we have sufficient data at hand and sufficient compute power to be able to analyze that data, run simulations and determine a likely outcome.
Jack Clare: We now have a vast array of data sources that didn’t exist a few years ago, and they’re all readily available. And due to a few advents in technology over the last few years, we now have the compute capacity to analyze it all and suddenly get down to a lot of very actionable, useful data about individuals, which has created whole new industries of data providers. It has created whole new industries of data analysis capabilities.
Edie Weiner: There’s no limit to the economic uses to which we could put the real-time ongoing mapping of everybody’s activities from traffic patterns in cities that allow us to determine whether we should price higher for tolls at certain times, all the way through to the movement of gray goods and black market goods around the world to be able to track those and to be able to safeguard intellectual property and patents.
C is for “Cloud”
Jack Clare: The reality is that it’s nothing more than outsourcing some of your core infrastructure. It so happens that the internet came along and gave us very high-speed, high-performance networks where you could have a service provider now very efficiently provide hosted services somewhere else.
Thaddeus Arroyo: Technology advancements – driven by powerful mobile computing, connected to fast and ever-present networks, increasingly accessing services in the cloud – are changing the way business does business. They are forcing us to think differently about products and services… how we operate our businesses… and how we can enhance customer experiences.
Rob Clyde: Think of the revolution that we’re having with social media, mobility and cloud. All of these started in the consumer space and then invaded enterprises, willing or not. And those enterprises that actually embrace them earlier were ahead of the game and are disrupting their slower competitors who said – well, that’s consumer stuff, it doesn’t really matter.
Jack Clare: The holy grail is making sure that you’re doing something the consumer wants, and they may not even know that they want it, but, you know, they’ll respond if they do and if it suits them or improves their interaction with us and the service that we provide them.
Thaddeus Arroyo: These collective trends will lead to transformational opportunities as they are used to impact products and services, redesign business processes, and enhance customer experiences. Their relevancy is broad, with applicability to interactions with employees, customers, and suppliers.
A Lesson for the Board: Stay Curious, Stay Engaged
Michael Marquardt: It’s become incredibly important for Boards to focus on how their business might be disrupted in the future. If you go back a few hundred years it’s pretty much always been by some kind of technology that has changed things, the Industrial Revolution, information technology more recently.
Technology and emerging technology has to be you know not just an afterthought in Boardroom discussions, but it has to be front and center.
Adam Hartung: The most beautiful part about business is that you don’t have to roll over and play dead. You don’t have to undertake an almost no chance to win fight. In business what we can say is wow things have changed. Things have changed dramatically, how am I going to react? The opportunities are actually limitless.
Rob Clyde: We are about to figure out origins of the universe, predicting the weather for not just next week, but maybe for the year. Improving the safety of many products. Being able to be more accurate in determining pricing. It’s just amazing the types of things that we might be able to do with the data and compute power that is now at our fingertips.
Share with your friends: