How Business Technology Is Evolving
Over the last decade, technology has really taken off. We have seen an evolution of technology at a speed which is barely comprehensible. In terms of adoption of technology, the pandemic brought as much technological adoption in 10 months as we had seen in the last decade. The pandemic forced businesses to embrace remote work, and its enabling technologies, such as cloud-based storage systems. One of the big arguments against remote working was that it would lead to a decline in productivity. Yet, research has shown that employees were able to maintain their pre-remote work levels of productivity and in some cases, to increase it. This was achieved through the use of business technology. In this article, we will discuss how business technology is evolving.
Mobile Devices Have Made Remote Work Possible
The saturation of the mobile phone market means that you are probably reading this article from a smartphone. Smartphones use central processing units (CPU) and in many cases, a smartphone’s CPU is more powerful than that of virtually all laptops. The power that mobile devices have has allowed us to carry in our pockets devices that can do an unbelievable range of things, from accessing and storing documents to holding video conferences. At a more advanced level, you can sequence a genome code, design a skyscraper, or conduct a wind load simulation from your mobile device. The technology for remote work has been around for a long time. It simply needed a trigger to make it happen.
From the point of view of business executives, the present crisis has highlighted the importance of investing in technology to liberate employees from the chains that bound them to their offices. Not only is technology essential to enable remote work, it is essential to enable employees to work more productively. This will allow employees to work more efficiently, from wherever they are most comfortable (which is to say, most productive), and to perform complex tasks in the simplest way possible. Investing in this technology kills the need for employees to commute to work and waste hours each week on the road or in trains. It means that employees can respond wherever they are. That is the definition of efficiency.
Software Is Still Eating the World
In 2011, the legendary venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen wrote in the Wall Street Journal that, “software is eating the world”. A decade later, his claim is more true than ever. More and more industries are becoming defined by their adoption of software and their ability to develop software-based solutions for their business problems.
In most cases, it is unimaginable that a business does not rely on at least one piece of software. And the appetite for software has come with a demand for more user-friendly and fluid designs. In response to that demand, software is more powerful and user-friendly, than at any time in history. Whether it is used for workflows, project portfolio management (PPM), or knowledge management, or some other task, software today is powerful, reliable and user-friendly.
PPM software platforms are one potent example of business technology that can be used from mobile devices. Using PPM software platforms, a person can get a visual image of the organization’s structure and all the projects that the organization or office is running. The platforms can be used to not just unobtrusively control and manage projects but also make tasks more efficient and effective.
Technology has moved on from the rudimentary project management platforms of the past and embraced something richer and more dynamic. Present PPM platforms utilise to-do lists that are powerful, enabling greater productivity on the part of those who use it.
We no longer need to make a phone call to get updates. Now, you can speak to an entire team, share information during that call, or after, and monitor tasks throughout the day.
An Era of Continuous Connectivity
This part of the evolution of business technology is a bit of a mixed bag. We are more connected than ever, and continuously so. So long as you have a device on, you are connected. Added to that, tech developers have been very good at using push notifications and other prompts, among other things, to keep us feeling like we always have to be online. Being online releases dopamine, giving one a rewarding feeling. People are constantly checking their emails, or texting platforms, and responding to requests and working even after hours.
This era of connectivity means that people often do not get the breaks that they need. This has led to some people calling for digital minimalism or less connectivity. That we are always reachable is both a blessing and a curse. That we are able to work anytime, anywhere, is both a blessing and a curse too. Balancing the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls, is something that many people struggle to do.
With smartwatches and other wearable devices, the trend toward greater connectivity will only increase. You will be able to take calls from your wearable devices, participate in video conferences, share data, receive notifications among many other things. Connectivity is on the rise.
The pandemic has seen an acceleration in the adoption of business technology. Yet, the story does not end there. Businesses are constantly looking for technology that will help them reduce costs, increase their margins, engage consumers, enhance consumer experience, among other things. The thirst for profit will drive further adoption of business technology.
The question is, how do we balance the good that technology does with concerns over privacy and security, concerns from remote workers about the blurring lines between home and work, and the concerns from mental health activists about the perils of constant connectivity and the overall impact of the internet on our mental health. Creating this balance is difficult. There are no easy solutions. What is certain is that technology’s role in business will continue to grow. Software will continue to eat the world.
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