Working in the technology industry and reading case studies of successful companies out there often makes me wonder what technology brings to the table. Take any industry, you will find application of technology in it, and there will be technology companies out there working on new tools for that industry. But when leaders of great companies were asked to list the top five factors that led their companies to deliver great result consistently, in most cases, technology didn’t make the list. Though they considered technology to be very important, they just didn’t think it was important enough to be considered as one of the primary reasons for their success.
I think that makes sense. Technology in most cases is equally available to all companies in the industry, but even then, some companies succeed while others don’t. If technology was one of the prime reasons for success, why didn’t the other companies deliver the same results as the leader in the industry? But still technology is important, because even though just application of technology cannot deliver great results, neglecting the adoption of technology can drag you down. Or in other words, technology is required, though it is not enough.
So back to the original question – what does technology bring to the table? I believe technology impacts lot of things, but two things that matter the most are acceleration and efficiency. Acceleration holds great importance in lot many industries. People care about the speed with which they get something done and technology plays a critical role in enhancing that speed. Starting with the obvious industries – consider travel and communication. Technology has accelerated the speed at which we travel many folds. In the field of communication, from telegraph to telephone to internet, technology has been a critical piece of the puzzle to increase the speed.
Another industry where technology plays a very important role is the information industry. Access to information is as important as anything else in the business world and fueling this information at the right place and right time is another multi-billion dollar industry. Internet has played a very important role in providing the right information at the finger tips. Technology rich search engines help in locating the exact information out of the endless information available on Internet.
Speaking of acceleration, one thing that cannot be omitted is computer processing power. Computers have accelerated the pace of doing work in every industry out there. Innovative application of this technology in several fields gets work done in a fraction of time as compared to what it took otherwise.
Over time we have seen application of technology increase the speed of getting work done in many fields, making the new speed as the expected standard that gets noticed only when something is not getting done at that speed, be it something as simple as using elevators to reach the 30th floor in a building or as complicated as diagnosis of diseases in the human body. Breakthrough application of technology acted like an accelerator in the past and will continue to influence the pace of getting things done in ages to come.