Today’s technology world is dramatically and fundamentally changing.
I am truly astounded by the things I see and experience every day: how quickly I can access information and the speed at which we operate. We have tools for communication, collaboration, navigation and travel at our fingertips. The list goes on and on.
The common denominator? Technology. Now more than ever, your ability to function and make good decisions in the world of business is strongly influenced by your understanding of technology. In my role as Technology Solutions Vice President at Centric Consulting, it’s my job to organize practices around technologies to allow us to better serve our clients. The following are a few trends I’ve been seeing recently that are important to pay close attention to:
- Your customer wants more technology. Your customers want to experience a seamless journey where all touchpoints are digitally enabled, integrated, and mobile. Bluetooth phone integration that is now available in cars is a perfect example of this.
- Efforts to reach your customers and prospects increasingly depends on technology. Marketing using digital channels and techniques will continue to become more important. If you’re reading this and are a marketing major, be sure take technical electives, including programming.
- Doing your job well depends on technology. If you work in the field of tech, your career demands to expand knowledge by default. If you manage technical people, you need to be able to speak their language. If you work with people in IT, you need an appreciation of the basics. And, if you’re a general manager, you need a big picture understanding so you can dream about what’s possible.
- Cloud technologies are more real than ever. Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendors like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are able to provide tools that make application-building fast and low cost. We’re helping our customers use this technology more frequently and more creatively.
- Readily available information is raising expectations on performance. Information is everywhere, and opportunities for low-cost education abound. You simply need to know more to keep up with the competition. YouTube is not just for cat videos these days: everything is up there, and it’s these types of resources that are elevating everyone’s game.
I’m still relying on techniques I used years ago, but technology has advanced at such a fast pace that I’ve had to evolve my thinking in order to keep up. I can’t afford to fall behind, and neither can you. Here are a few quick tips to help you stay current in 2016:
- Start your own tech event. Centric has hosted our annual Camp I/O for seven years now. We’re also now putting on an annual hackathon. Creating events like these afford you the opportunity to learn something, while thought leaders get to practice presentation skills and show off their latest explorations.
- Refine your to-read system. Every time I open something up, I’ve noticed that the content finds me (and not vice versa). My process is to open an article, convert it to a PDF format, and save to a read file on the desktop. This file is synced into the cloud so it’s accessible on all my devices. Some of our technical leaders use Pocket for article clipping and retrieval. A more modern and effective method that beats an old-school approach any day.
- Pay for the good stuff. Although you can find loads of learning materials for free, it’s still worth it to pay for quality magazines, books, and analyst research not otherwise available online.
- Learn to search better. The fastest way to find free analyst reports on the web is by using Google search strings. For example, “Forrester Wave BI Tools filetype:pdf site:www.tableau.com.” This string will only search the Tableau site and only return .pdf documents. This is a fast and effective way to uncover quality content on vendor sites.
- Ask for copies of everything. During status calls, are interesting documents mentioned? If so, ask for a copy and add it to your to-read pile. Don’t just read topics you know and like: read widely to stay abreast of the latest tech trends.
Have you ever heard a business leader say “I’m not technical?” My response is always, “Why not?” The information is out there, so don’t be that person who makes an excuse for their lack of technical knowledge. If you want to be an effective leader, it’s your job to keep learning. And thanks to these innovations in learning, investing in staying current can be a cost-effective — and game-changing — undertaking for your career.