I am not very old (in the scheme of things/slight humble brag?), but technology in general has changed and progressed significantly in my lifetime. I believe this not only predicts what is to come in the future, but also demonstrates how quickly businesses and consumers adapt to new technology. I expect to get an even better handle on why and how these adaptations take place throughout the next 12 weeks in Digital Transformations.
Before I look at what’s to come, let’s go down memory lane a bit. Remember when you use to get a “free” cell phone that just came with the plan you signed up for? In case you don’t it looked like this,
And the best part about it (at least to me) was that you could play the game Snake on it. We have come from that phone, released in 2002, to having a fully functional computer in your pocket where you are able to do everything from make a boring old phone call *yawn* to tap it at a checkout to pay for things. Those HUGE digital transformations have come in the last 2 decades, and in order to interact in daily life as a human, you have had to get on board or risk becoming a Ron Swanson.
Obviously, cell phones are not the only technology that has greatly improved or been introduced over the last 20 years. In my mind, the biggest game changer has been the move by consumer businesses from retail storefronts to online marketplaces. So many companies have either failed to make this transition at all or have made it very slowly and poorly. These companies have either gone bankrupt (RIP Sears) or are on the verge of that at this moment. The adaptation to new technology is something that needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully while also being done quickly, which seems to be a very precarious line to toe. My biggest hope for what is to come in Digital Transformations this semester is that I learn how to properly toe this line from a management perspective. I want to be able to understand what technology I need to be a huge proponent of, and what technology may be more of a fad or buzzword.
I spoke in our first class about how AI and Machine Learning scare me a bit in terms of how accurate they are at certain tasks. My expectation is that as we move through this class, my skepticism will be minimized, and I will be taught how to use AI/ML for tasks that it is very good at (analyzing photos, recognizing voices, beating me at chess, etc) and let other things accomplish the tasks it’s not so good at. I think this class will be able to quell my underlying sense of dread that we are cruising to an I Robot scenario where the machines get a little out of hand.
Psshhh that isn’t going to happen. Right? Right, guys?? Anyways, I do very much believe that companies who are able to leverage all of this new tech are the most successful, and I think we have seen fantastic examples of this during the COVID pandemic. Businesses and companies that were quick to switch to online ordering and delivery were able to stop some of the bleeding caused by the overall lack of businesses. Amazon, a huge adopter of all things tech, thrived while many other businesses were left in the dust. The pandemic gave us a preview of what it takes to run a successful business in the future because I very much doubt we will be going back to pre-COVID times in terms of technology adoption. And with that profound prediction, I bid you adieu until next time.