Technology can be both an opportunity and a threat. On one hand, it’s a threat because a new technology can kill a great company or even an entire industry, regardless of how big a player in the industry an organization is. Imagine being Smith Corona and being a market leader in typewriters, then to do an OK job of making the transition to word processors, only to get slaughtered by the personal computer.
On the other hand, technology is a remarkable opportunity, because it lowers entry barriers! An organization of just about any size can afford a computer, and there are tons of free software applications out there from business plan templates to free accounting programs to free programs to help you build your website. FREE! Check out places like Quickbooks and Google Docs and WordPress before you spend a dime! Technology has lowered transaction costs and entry barriers in more ways than we can count!
On the other, other hand, it’s tough to compete on just technology. If we try to differentiate ourselves through our “fancy website” or that we offer “secure shopping,” or that we offer “free wifi,” before too long, the consumer says, “So what? So does everybody else!” thanks again to the prevalence of technology. The 49ers’ new stadium fiasco is an unfortunate example of that.
Plus, because technology is changing so rapidly and so vastly, it requires an ongoing investment that we have to consider in our strategic planning.
As you might have guessed, whether technology is a threat or an opportunity largely depends on whether it’s in the hands of a capable leader like YOU! Incidentally, this is also why LEADERSHIP will never go out of style. As Jack Welch predicted way back in the 1990s in his book, Jack: Straight From the Gut, “While information will be available as never before, it will always be human judgment that makes the organization grow.”
You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails.” -Christophe Poizat