IT is no longer just IT

It used be IT and that stood for Information Technology and its power of computation boosted productivity. Now we are in a new age, an information rich society where computation is taken for granted (faster, cheaper is all we care about) and the focus now is on how we use information and technology to lead a better life (a subject in its own right) and develop society.  This means that where before IT was the field of expertise of a few now it is a field of interest to everyone in the developed world.  The remarkable thing is this has happened in the last 25 years and accelerated in the last 10 years with the availability of ever more powerful mobile phones (the ubiquitous device) and fast(er) fixed and wireless networks.

The T in IT

The T stands for technology and technology is a disruptor and in business speak that is told as transformation.  Increasingly IT is folded into the conversations about innovation and business transformation and that spells opportunity and fortune for some.  What about everyone else?

Innovation and job disruption

In the book Fast Forward it presents an array of  innovation that is disrupting so many industries and all have implications for employment opportunities.  For example, robotics and automation will replace ever more people on production lines and China is a major market for robotics.  I read an article that put forward the view that in a world where innovation is disrupting jobs you either ‘go down, go up or get out’.  Harsh but there is some truth in this as it describes you either fill the low level tasks that technology and automation is not applicable to or economic for or be expert doing the things that humans do better (at least for now).  I don’t need to explain get out.

So when do we get to Business As Usual?  We don’t for the foreseeable future.

Why am I writing about this?

I am reflecting on a talk I delivered at Sales Innovation Expo 2015 in London about Social Selling and pointed to a report that claimed 1M B2B sales jobs would be lost in the USA by 2020.  I am not sure the audience wanted to hear that nor understood why this is happening.  Think about the growth of online retailing at the expense of bricks and mortar retailing in B2C.  The same is happening to B2B enabled by the Internet and changing buyer behaviour as they involve sellers later in their buying cycle.  How should sellers respond?  The report I refer to before has been challenged and there is better news for B2B sales jobs – customers do need you.

Muddled

So we have a raft of innovation in the pipeline that will destroy some jobs and create others and no prospect soon that we have a state of BAU. Do we now live in a constant state of fear that our jobs are temporary?  A chilling prospect and a muddled future.