I am constantly amazed at how technology is often positioned as a “unacceptable substitute” for the “human touch.” Granted, there are all kinds of missing elements in the electronic forms of communication, but let’s face it – technology is here to stay. A recent study found that over 70% of workplace communication is indeed actually electronic. In lieu of debating the pros and cons of each of the modes of learning, how about agreeing that both the use of technology and the human touch need to co-exist and those that take full advantage of optimizing this co-existence are likely to outperform those that don’t.
In the 80s, the IT world introduced the PC and electronic data to the workplace in a manner what was not just reserved to NASA or the tech geeks.
In the 90s, the wave of ERPs exploded – these massive enterprise-wide technologies (Oracle, SAP, Baan, Peoplesoft, etc.) that essentially enable the flow of information from anywhere to everywhere in real time accessible from anywhere. Now, many will argue that this was grossly oversold and under-delivered.
The late 90s had Y2K looming and so it really was until this decade that the full power of “connectedness” was proposed … through both applications and devices.
By next year, there will be over 14 billion devices in the world that can connect to the internet. That’s over twice the number of people. So the idea of maximizing the power of “connectedness” is only NOW being explored.
In 2010 and beyond, because every leader should be able to connect to new (1) people, (2) communities, and (3) knowledge sources in unprecedented ways, there should be NO reason for mediocre decision-making. As a leader, connecting to any combination of these three from my finger tips 24/7 should allow me to (1) objectively evaluate a decision, (2) get collective feedback on lessons learned, and (3) review case studies or articles to see how other leaders/companies made the same or similar decision.
So my argument here is that companies investing in technologies that allow leaders access to these three resources are bound to have a significant advantage in 2010 and beyond … and compared to other developmental efforts, how could this not be both cheaper and better?