“Technology is transforming the way we do business.” We have heard this time and time again. Think back to the last article you read covering any sort of emerging technology. Chances are this message was at the heart of the article and for good reason.
I was thinking about technology and its impact on businesses and something struck me… Technology is not changing the way we do business. Technology is the way we do business.
We all remember the dot com boom. Back in 1997, when the market surge driven by new and exciting internet/tech companies really began to take off, we had never seen anything like this. Many of us were skeptical about the legitimacy and longevity of whatever this was. So what happened between skepticism of the technology then and dependence on the technology now? Two things happened: understanding and realization.
First, we began understanding the purpose of the internet — instant sharing of information. A minute or two later we realized how endless the possibilities would be with this capability. See, the internet was not meant to throw the book out on traditional business practices…just bring about an electronic version of the book!
So where are we today? Everybody’s talking about emerging technologies. Start counting how many times you see or hear the words ‘Blockchain’ and ‘distributed ledger’, ‘machine learning’ and ‘robotics’. Sure, we are talking about these things but do we understand them? Just like the dot com boom in ’97, we can’t take that next leap forward until we understand what these technologies are and how they apply to us.
The fact of the matter is that every executive, regardless of the industry, needs to understand technology’s role in order to make informed strategic decisions. More importantly, we all need to understand ‘Tech Talk’ to operate effectively in business today.
So, how do we become fluent with this new language?
First, we have to realize we can’t look at technology as an isolated variable we can pick and choose when to acknowledge. Technology is part of our everyday lives. It is the way we do business.
Second is to understand the terminology so we’re not left behind when the conversation turns to technology. To help our Northern Trust employees achieve this level of confidence (‘tech literacy’ if you will) we’ve created an internal tech microsite where everyone can learn more about our technology strategy, view ‘tech talk’ videos, see examples of Northern Trust and industry ‘tech innovation in action’ and even access a simple glossary of ‘tech terms’. This glossary provides a digestible definition of the terms most common in our industry and outlines why we need them and what they do for our employees, our clients and our business. Ultimately, our tech microsite provides a platform to keep us ahead of the pack when we need to speak Tech Talk. Which, as we know, is all the time if we’re going to be part of the conversation and be successful in driving our global businesses forward.
If you’re going to walk the walk, you have to be able to talk the talk — the ‘Tech Talk’ that is.