Technology has played a key role in exploring newer areas in science, education, healthcare and many more fields. The leaps in technological advancements became more frequent after the 1980s. General Electric (GE) is one of the few organizations which has seen the world change through its 125 years of being in business. The advent of information technology and computing was capitalized by GE, and following their success other businesses superceded. Jack Welch, came in as the CEO with a refreshing approach ‘change is a norm’, and over the years he proceeded to do so. He borrowed six sigma (a set of techniques and tools for process improvement) from Motorola and made it central to his business strategy while starting a ranking system for people and distinct segments which increased accountability and healthy competition within GE. The four E’s of leadership Energy, Energize, Edge, and Execution were integral to his management style. The management’s prime focus was on operational efficiency and enabling teams. Many of his models were adopted by the industry and are still in practice.
As the world was learning from the ‘Manager of the Century’ the enlightened way of doing business, the information age came to its peak attaining new heights from the automation ethos of the manufacturing era (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age).
This third wave disrupted the approach towards business as information, communication and technology (ICT) became omnipotent. Digital and traditional analog information processes started competing for their share of importance. Key techniques were developed and put into place which brought major improvement in the business mainframe.
These techniques were: • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) which refers to the management of key business processes using technology and software. • Supply chain management (SCM) the management of the flow of goods and services followed. • Customer relationship management (CRM), the approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. Here data was analyzed about the customers’ history with a company to improve the business relationships, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth. • Cutting across these was Human Resource Management (HRM) that was developed to automate the processes of various HR departments managing people operations.
Basically, time moved faster, data turned to gold as processed information gave insights into improving operation efficiency.Growth of technology is fast paced and it has permeated into human lifestyles as never before. Automation has become a differentiator, wherein the businesses which have not accepted this wave have ultimately lost business. Regardless of all the hurdles, the forth wave of e-revolution where we have infinite access infinite data and information has arrived. We will discuss the impact on this in the next blog, the fourth wave of enterprise transformation.