It’s 2014, folks — where’s the digital revolution?

Digital RevolutionWe’re dripping with technology. Look around you…everyone’s carrying a computer in their pocket that gets checked an average of 150 times per day (according to Kleiner Perkins), and data and analytics are the talk of…well…the modern world. Why, then, is the workplace still essentially the same as it was pre-Internet? We still have the same basic structure for the enterprise, big or small, that we had for the Industrial Age. Where’s the Digital Revolution?

Maybe profit is the problem

I suspect that we’re still afraid to go against the conventional grain. We’re comfortable in the systems and expectations that have been around since long before we were part of the corporate hierarchy. It got us here, why should we be in a hurry to change it? After all, there’s ample proof that companies continue to generate profits despite their legacy infrastructure.

Management isn’t working

And then along comes author/speaker Stephen Denning, who explains why management isn’t working anymore from the perspective of return on investment:

The principal cause of the erosion in returns is the shift in power in the marketplace from seller to buyer. The gains in efficiency that firms made over the period have been more than consumed the erosion in margins. As a result of globalization and the Internet, customers and clients have more options and instant access to reliable information about those options.  Hence firms that revolve around the boss with a dynamic of control and a principal goal of ever greater efficiency have been finding it more and more difficult to make money.

Denning believes we’ve been grafting new elements of technology and process onto the old model of structured hierarchy long enough that we don’t see the paradigm shift that is happening right now. That shift is to the power of the customer over the power of organizational hierarchy, led by globalization and connectedness.

What does this mean for me?

This means customer delight is the new goal, more than profitability. Denning believes (and I agree) that we need to shift the orientation of the organization to adding value to the customer, not to the shareholders. The power is moving rapidly to the buyer rather than the seller.

Tim Cook’s boss

If Denning is correct, and he has lots of arguments for why he is now Tim Cook’s boss, this is the shift created by the digital revolution…it is a shift in perspective more than a shift in technology. This is a 20-minute video that will change your view of the digital revolution:

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