Despite the many terms used across literature and practice, for the willing or open-minded, the underlying contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is simple to understand and increasingly central to all that we do today as professionals in a discipline or as organisations creating value within an ecosystem.


Technology today has conveniently converged into a largely integrated form that makes managing it as a resource a bit easier, although with some accompanying risks. And like the introduction of a resource to an equation, it brings with it its own challenges and demands that we as decision-makers and resource-managers need to reconcile as we strive to succeed in today’s environment.


The simple framework of dissecting our technology into its component Hardware, Software, Networks, Data and Risk dimensions allows us to not only consider the specifications across each dimension that would contribute to our operating demand, but also give us the basis to explore and frame developments and emerging trends as it fits to our reality. This framework proves useful when we consider as an example the integration of cameras into internet-enabled phones – which can aid us in our inventory management even as it reshapes the form and format for news reporting sectors.


We recognise that ICT today is the dominant institution in society (courtesy of the Internet), and serves to connect us within our ecosystem or communities through social media. The dispersion and usage – and the potential that exists – cannot be ignored. That 3 in 10 people globally are online, or that 2 of those 3 are on the popular social media site Facebook, gives us the opportunity to connect with a sizeable community, and highlights the growth potential that accompanies the use of internet-based cannels of commerce, marketing and resource-engagement. That more connectivity is via mobile devices also serves to reinforce real-time connectivity with fewer accompanying compromises to performance.


How is this reality being incorporated in our planning and projections? It would be useful to consider – on a sector basis – the potential sustaining vs. disruptive technologies that can serve to either support our competitive positioning or alter the way business is done. One only has to look at the impact of Apple’s iTunes on the music distribution sector to understand the probabilities.


It must be recognised that other mentionable trends are also being deployed to aid us in achieving or even redefining our standards of productivity and performance. From automation which marginalises human error on routine tasks to analytics and ‘Big Data’ which give us the ready supply of information that can transform the quality of our roles and decisions, we recognise the potential applications in job functions behind the desk or in the field.


In the same way, we can consider Social Media and Mobile Computing penetration that is not only impacting our engagement of external stakeholders and reshaping organisational forms and structures, but also impacting directly on our ability to innovate our products, service delivery and processes of creating and sustaining value.


Overall, the zeal to unleash technology might be tempered by the apprehension onset by the speed of change and the vagaries of technical jargon, but as Peter Drucker reminded us, “Today, knowledge… controls access to opportunity and advancement.” Simple frameworks aid us to unleash this resource for our benefit and for those we serve.

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