Please note – this was written in 2012.
The first forty years of the business use of IT has been dominated by process automation and labor displacement. Compared with what lies around the corner this is the equivalent of riding on horse-back, and while pleasant it is hardly appropriate for a journey down a motorway. It is my opinion that we are on the cusp of something quite different – a second wave of technology that will be primarily concerned with intelligence. All the pieces are in place and are being assembled by businesses that have already got the message. How will your organization cope?
The first section of this paper looks at four primary waves that, ever since I formulated them in the late 80’s, have been a guiding light in my analysis. These are long-term trends, but they are of particular interest right now because we are at an inflection point between the first and the second. So if you are a supplier there are changes afoot that will determine where you create value, and if you are a user of technology this change may make you want to steer your career in a certain direction.
The second section focuses fully on the implications of the trend crossover we are witnessing for users and suppliers. This is where I explore in some detail the fairly frightening global business environment that is taking shape and who will be the heroes in this brave new world. I’m on fairly safe ground here simply because it is already happening. When I spoke on these things ten years ago I could see conference delegates trying to figure out whether I’d been served with the wrong type of mushroom for breakfast. Just as a taster – would you like to make US$3,000,000? It’s up for grabs (at the time of writing) – but you need a pointy head. More on this later.
Finally I’ll go out beyond the current wave crossover to the next primary wave, which may be on us sooner than we want. As far as I am aware no one has written about this, and it may be at this point that you emulate the conference delegates of ten years ago. But I can assure you that I have not had mushrooms for breakfast, and that there is an internal logic in these arguments.