Modernizing the Channel Model - Part 4 (The Pace of Technology Change)

The pace of technology change in society and business is dizzying to say the least. And it is exponential, not incremental. Scouring the internet for support of this theory reveals some eye-popping, dare we say mind-numbing proof points. Try these disruptive technology tidbits on for size:

  • If you were to build an iPhone using the technology available in 1991, it would cost over $3 million, not the $500 to $700 we pay today. According to futurist Ray Kurzweil, "When I was an undergraduate, we all shared a computer at MIT that took up half of a building. The computer in your cellphone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion fold increase in price performance of computing since I was an undergraduate." (You probably didn’t realize you were getting such a deal when you were talking to the saleperson at the AT&T store!)

  • If the average car had advanced as quickly as the computer over the last 35 years, cars would get over 3 million miles per gallon and cost less than $5,000 today.

As startling as these statements are, we know three things.

  1. We know “the why” behind the acceleration. According to the pundits, there are three ’laws’ of technology that are exhibiting exponential growth – that is, they are doubling in size every 18 to 24 months and have done for decades. Moore’s Law, Koomey’s Law and Kryder’s Law all give time-tested theories as to why technology continues its rapid pace of evolution.

  2. We know that the technology industry – including the channel – has made a good living selling and supporting the latest technology through the industry’s inflection points. Mainframe to client/server. The advent of the internet. Cloud computing.

  3. And finally, we know that businesses and organizations must continually evolve and innovate to remain competitive in a vibrant, global economy.

What we don’t know is if we all can keep pace! The pace of change is unprecedented. Personal computers, the internet and smartphones have created (and destroyed) entire industries over the last two decades. Now, artificial intelligence and robotics are likely to do the same.

In fact, KPMG’s “The Changing Landscape of Disruptive Technologies,” a survey of over 750 global tech industry leaders, confirmed that IoT, AI and robotics (in that order) will drive the greatest business disruption.

Of course, we have no choice but to keep pace, because innovation will drive change and businesses must be agile enough to embrace it or risk extinction. But how? And what role does the channel play?

Here are a couple thoughts:

1. Help Your Customers Get Ahead of the Disruption

Businesses must be vigilant to be agile, and leaders must understand what’s coming to adequately prepare for it. Solution providers should take a proactive role, advising their customers about market trends, emerging technologies and which solutions can help them innovate and differentiate.

2. Get Good at Change Management

As part of your professional services motion, use good change management techniques to help mitigate the risk that technological change poses to your customer’s employees. Employees often resist any change that threatens their job – and you can’t blame them – but a company’s ability to get people through the knothole will maintain continuity in the workforce, improve morale, and enable the company to take advantage of the new technology.

3. Bolster Your Customers’ R&D Efforts

Forbes magazine recommends that companies maintain a small R&D arm that’s insulated from the rest of the business. It’s the old “we’re too busy for new ideas.” While a company’s main R&D arm focuses on incremental improvements, organizations should consider establishing a separate research unit not defined by current business needs.

This team should fuel innovations, even if they threaten the primary business model. When a disruptive trend is identified, they can be the vanguard for adoption. They must also have opportunities to share insights with the mainline business. What a great role for the channel.

The bottom line is the pace of technology change will only continue to accelerate, so those that don’t embrace it are destined to fail. The channel is in a great position to guide its customers as they wrestle with how to best implement innovation into their business.

At Vation Ventures, we understand we are all on this journey together. Our value proposition is based on providing innovation a path to success. Contact us today to find out how we can help smooth out the bumps along the way.


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