Blog: Companies Talk a Good Future Technology Game, But Remain Ignorant Today

Blog: Companies Talk a Good Future Technology Game, But Remain Ignorant Today

It's easy to talk about what you'll do in the future. It's what you're not doing today that's a problem. Juxtapose this:

IBM's new CEO study (1130 CEOs from 40 countries and 30 industries) indicates a "gap of 22 per cent between how CEOs rate their ability to manage change successfully versus their expected need for it. This change gap has tripled since 2006." Thirty-five per cent cite technology factors as driving change. Nearly all plan to change their business models, pricing models, and the way their industry conducts business. Okay.

Meanwhile, in a new AIIM study of 400 businesses, 44 per cent found Web 2.0 technologies - i.e. blogs, wikis, social networks -- to be 'imperative' or of 'significant importance' to their organization but "74 per cent also said they had only a vague familiarity with the technology and 41 per cent had no clear understanding at all." Okay.

Even though these responders are at two different management tiers, when you put the two observations side by side, the AIIM study seems to confirm that CEOs are right to worry about the change gap. Their organizations are not literate enough on technological change to harness it when they will need it. Yet nearly all CEOs want to change their business models or the way their industry conducts business with customers Surely some social technologies will be implicated in these changes, one way or the other.

So if this sounds like your enterprise: your CEO anticipates big change ahead but you know your business is as clueless about social technologies as the AIIM study indicates, what do you do?

It's simple. Show the IBM stat to your CEO. Ask your CEO to sponsor a small cross-functional team project to research what companies are doing and then launch an experiment or two for your firm -- just to see what might emerge. If firms are going to spend US$4.6 billion in the next five years, should that include you?

Self-education on how these technologies fit into your strategic future is a sign of vision, strength and agility. As history has proven, when it comes to technology, stubborn ignorance is not bliss. Otherwise, in 2 years when IBM does the next survey, the change gap will triple again and become a change chasm.

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