We had a fantastic interaction and presentation with Andy McAfee, author of Enterprise 2.0, this past week. He delivered a live, interactive webcast to our global audience of over 500 organizations. He opened by debunking a fairly straightforward idea that we hear constantly, “It’s not about the technology.” This is a common idea paraded about in organizations to demonstrate that while, yes, technology is of course changing, it is more about the business models, ideas, and market landscape that surrounds the changing technology.
Myself, I’ve been sucker to that same argument when talking about the importance of recognizing technology as a tacit enabler, but not the point itself. McAfee wants to point out that…now…more than ever before, the technology itself is changing at such a logarithmic rate, that indeed it has powerful impacts on the services and product innovation we provide.
Take at look at the graph – when we weigh infrastructure asset prices of industrial, transportation and infrastructure costs against the cost of available technology, clearly online technological costs are plummeting, and that has profound implications about how we can, and should, do business. And importantly, how we interact as communities in the emerging Enterprise 2.0 environment. The price crash of collaborative technologies based on peripheral equipment like computers (iPads!, NetBooks!) has opened up immense opportunities for people to congregate virtually, share expertise, practices, and insights – and if they choose, to also collaborate in competitive ways in the market.
With the advent of online collaborative environments we are seeing heightened competition from everyone, everywhere, for everything. If you thought your market niche was product based, or particularly regional in scope, think again. With cool collaborative innovation sinks like InnoCentive, people can build iterative new products and services leveraging expertise around the world in a flash. So as you and your business consider integrating Enterprise 2.0 initiatives, consider that the alternative could be obsolescence.