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The Next Evolution of Technology

Every ten years or so, a new era emerges in the technology industry. These eras are really defined by the emergence of new platforms from which new waves of innovation and technology can be built upon. With each new ear, new business value is created that didn’t exist before. While not always obvious at first, over time each era also becomes associated with an overarching business trend that ends up defining the business innovation of the time.

Since technology went mainstream starting in the 1970’s, we have been through at least four major technology eras. If we just focus on B2B technology, these eras start with the advent of mini computers and transaction systems in the 70’s, flowing through to PCs and productivity software in the 80’s, to the rise of client/server and ERP in the 90’s. Beginning in the mid-2000’s, we saw a new era emerge around the convergence of mobile, cloud/SaaS, and big data, which of course what is dominating the current era that we are in.

But the more important story than the platforms of each era is the technology value creation that occurred with each era. In the 70’s, the value created by technology was around record keeping and efficiency through automation of records. It was in the 80’s that we saw technology become personal and the rise of productivity software revolutionized the productivity of knowledge workers. Into the 90’s, technology melded with the enterprise and value came from process standardization and driving cost efficiencies.

What makes the current era remarkable in the context of the previous eras is that technology is now being harnessed in a forward-looking manner. It’s being used to create the future by enabling organizations to discover new insights and ideas, and then rapidly executing on those ideas with new forms of collaboration. In previous eras, technology value was about reducing friction, driving efficiency, standardization, and automation of existing processes.

Today, technology is creating value by enabling an organization to expand its future funnel of ideas and opportunities.

For Symbio, it’s about enabling companies to generate more product concepts and ideas, and then helping our clients to design, build, and manage those products. We have adopted an overall theme of Innovation co-creation within Symbio, which is quite simply about getting deeply integrated with our clients and being able to generate great ideas together. We are enabling our clients to produce those ideas faster, cheaper, and of the highest quality.

Key Takeaways

1.    Each technology era is defined by a dominant new platform and the new value it creates.

2.    We are now in an ear defined by the convergence of mobile + cloud/SaaS + big data.

3.     The business value of this era is all about creating new innovations through the discovery of new insights and ideas, and then being able to rapidly execute those ideas and capitalize on opportunities.