Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Two Tech Trends to Track

Technology alone hardly ever is the key to unlocking economic value: companies only create real wealth when they combine tech with new ways of doing business. With that said, I offer two trends to keep an eye on to shape your company in the coming years.

1. Using consumers as innovators: And, allowing your customers to cocreate with your business. As the Internet has evolved, it has become more of a widespread platform for interaction, communication, and activism. Consumers increasingly want to engage online with one another and with organizations of all sizes. Companies can tap this new mood of customer engagement for their economic benefit... new product innovation (design), constructive feedback to avoid wasted R&D funds (testing), and brand tweaking (marketing / viral marketing) are just a few ideas that will dramatically hit the bottom line, engender greater loyalty, and speed up development cycles.

2. Making businesses from information: The pools of data captured from the aforementioned trend are now raw material for new information-based business opportunities. Frequent contributors to "market imperfections" reveal relevant data about new market opportunities, potential acquisitions, pricing differences among suppliers, and other business situations. These imperfections allow astute middlemen with more and better information to extract premiums for aggregating and creating new companies around it. The Internet has brought greater transparency to markets such as airline tickets, hotel rooms, and stocks, but many other sectors are wide open for similar illumination.

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