In 1990 my newlywed wife and I went downtown to see the Formula 1 race in downtown Phoenix. It seems hard to believe that Arizona was briefly a part of the exclusive F1 racing circuit. However, attendance was low and there were reports that the Chandler Ostrich Festival drew bigger crowds. It only lasted 3 years.
At that time, the Phoenix Suns were still playing at the Memorial Arena and the 51/Squaw Peak Parkway was still being built. Cell phones were as big as shoes and the internet was largely unknown. A lot has changed since then.
Technological change is accelerating. Consider that the iPhone 5 is more powerful than a Mac Powerbook of 2005. In 2007, facebook had 20 million users. It has over 1 billion today.
So how should a businesses handle ever-increasing rates of change? To put it simply, it should focus on technologies that have positive return on investment. For most, there is no other consideration. Although the most common benefit is increased productivity, there are other ways to realize returns like: Marketing - online advertising, CRM, and lead collection. Mobility - reduced travel, flexible work hours. Collaboration - between employees and with clients.
The prerequisite for all of this is reliability and security. For example, mobile devices are at risk of theft or loss. To to prevent your data from ending up in unwanted hands, the ability to remotely wipe a device is critically important. Devices that connect directly to a public network is more vulnerable to hackers so the presence of a firewall and endpoint security may be necessary. Collaboration, particularly with those outside of an organization requires practices to ensure that sensitive files are not unintentionally exposed.
A poorly designed system can impede the progress of a company. A well designed system can free it. Change can be hard but a measured and thoughtful approach to it’s adoption can be beneficial.
The late great Ayrton Senna won that race in 1990. It was exciting to be a part of it, but we didn’t return the next year. In retrospect, I think Phoenix is more of a Nascar town. Perhaps some things never change.