Impact of technology

I wrote this post about four years back while doing my MBA at Columbia Business School. For some reason (don’t remember why), didn’t publish it. So putting it out now.

This week reinforced my belief in the reach and impact of technology. It’s across industries and continents. It spans different walks of life and touches people in different ways. But the common element is that it has more impact than ever before. Here’s a recap of four events/cases this week shed light on how technology is playing a critical role in various industries.

Paul Calello, CEO of Credit Suisse investment banking division gave a talk on leadership and state of financial markets. He was asked what is the next big thing that will influence the market. His one word answer was technology. He went on to explain how technology can increase transparency, make it more practical to put forth checks in place and help make better decisions than ever before.

In supply chain management class, the case study for the week was Zara success story. One sentence reasoning behind Zara’s success is its heavy investments in information technology and automated infrastructure. The amazing infrastructure Zara has put in place to have a rapid inventory update every six weeks (less than half the time taken by a typical competitor in the space) is heavily dependent on connectivity and automation in supply chain management.

Next was a simulations exercise for Statistics class to find out a bond which is more profitable and less risky than a bunch of specified stocks. In other words, statistical regression using computing power to solve an otherwise a complex looking problem.

Lastly, a talk on Google’s impact on creating the massive digital library. Very interesting to see two contradicting sides of impact technology was having on an industry. On the brighter side, the knowledge was going to be universally available to anyone interested in leveraging it. On the darker side, activities like piracy will grow and the revenue hit on publishers will in turn have an impact on authors motivation.

I have always been a believer in technology and its power. I strongly believe in the idea that it’s the application of technology in innovative ways that is going to have a lasting impact for many years to come.

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