As I see it there are 3 major areas of change in how businesses function in our economy. These areas of change are going to vastly, vastly affect the kind of world we live and work in. These transformations will also affect any businesses we found and jobs we have (or don't have). I want to take a chance to identify these areas of change, how they interact, and what it means for us in two essays.
I've already identified two of these Areas of Change in past writings here:
The Production Revolution
This is the change that has occurred in the ability of people to produce goods, provide services, and create product. Between things like Print on Demand, consulting websites like www.elance.com, and the ability to outsource almost any aspect of a product, it is much easier for anyone to produce a product or oversee the creation of a product.
The Production Revolution cuts out the middleman of agencies, publishing companies, and so forth by . . . introducing new middlemen. However these middlemen are focused more on automation, connection, and support than past middlemen. They provide the power and service as opposed to being a separate entity that held the power.
I admit I love this term, coined by Ryan McClead. Hell, I registered www.corptechpocalypse.com just in case I wanted to use it later. I love it for its ironic sound, but also because, frankly, it's very real.
The CorpTechPocalypse is the end of Corporate IT because there are services out there that provide for the needs of Corporate IT much better than the in-house model. These are a mix of Software As a Service (think Salesforce and Zendesk), easy outsourcing of IT functions, and an increasing consumer approach to all electronics that changes expectations and methods of delivery (think Apple). The short form is that corporate IT, the big internal IT departments, is going away.
That may sound strange to those of use used to such things, but I've seen it happen over the years. There are entire companies with no IT department, it's all being handled with on-call services, Salesforce, Amazon.com hosting, and more. You don't need a Corporate IT department for some businesses, and what little you do can probably be handled on an as-needed basis by other staff.
The flipside of this which is often ignored is that the services causing the CorpTechPocalypse also mean its a lot easier to build a corporate IT system – even if its for a company of one. A quick Salesforce Subscription, some Google services, a good support contract, and wireless running off your cable and you've got an entire business It infrastructure set up, and you're still in front of your computer in your pajamas.
That's two of the Areas Of Change. I've recently become aware of a third area of change. In my habit of making cute names for things I call it (drumroll) the Structure Shift?
What is the Structure Shift? Let me illustrate it by example.
Over the last few months, now that I'm working in Silicon Valley, I've been moving in more startup areas and circles. I've also been experiencing the many companies and services that help them succeed, and it's an entire world unto itself. You don't hear about some of these support companies as you may not encounter them directly, but they are there, and probably more present in your life than you need.
There are a world of businesses that exist only to provide the Structure, literal and procedural, of a business to your company.
Ever heard of Administaff? They're a company that provides a complete set of human resource solutions to businesses – payroll, benefits, everything. You can outsource your entire HR department – or rely on them so you never have to start one.
How about Regus? They're an office solution – short term, long term, anything you need. Want to have an office one day a week? They have it. They have multiple locations and levels of membership. In short, with them you can have an office when you need it.
Of course there have always been people providing Structure to firms – accounting, other services, etc. But again, technology has made it easier to do things fast, remote, online – and cheaper.
Even your physical infrastructure can be a temporary thing you request.
So there are the 3 Areas of Change – Production Revolution, CorpTechPocalypse, and the Structure Shift. I'll go on with the naive assumption I've identified the three major areas of change affecting businesses at this point.
So what do these mean beyond the obvious? It's their interaction that intrigues me, and that's for next post . . .