Ford had the epiphany to break down the process step by step until one person could be easily trained to do the job. Welch to a large extent represented the logical end of the process of efficiency-seeking with speedy development of technologies. But for knowledge businesses, there wasn’t a clear template.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of ‘Amazon’ started the company as a cyberspace retailer for books. He realized that in order to stay ahead in business he had to conceive what could put him out of business and ‘Kindle’ was born. Today, Amazon has become a case study in relentless innovations and disruptions. The unending firsts since its inception include one-click purchasing, members only- Amazon Prime and the rise of e-reading. They redefined logistics by building an infrastructure to support super-fast delivery by expanding their fulfillment centers and moving products closer to the consumer, thus reducing the delivery time drastically.
The fourth wave is not about the businesses or the products and services, it’s about the consumer and the impact on them. The ‘Experience Business’ is the new battleground where only the first to adapt and evolve will survive. Another important element is disintermediation, which is elimination of all steps between the producer and the consumer and while doing so making the processes seamless and frictionless.
The customer engagement has become more interactive and accessible with the development and expansion of processes such as automated emails, user-generated ratings, reviews and recommendations based on previous purchases and mobile based applications. The onset of cloud computing has not only brought low-cost technology to businesses. This technology assures data storage and back-up, wireless connectivity, server maintenance, software licensing, and resource management, which helps businesses save time and money.
Today technological solutions are flexible, reliable, and align with the business.Timing has been crucial as during the dot.com era many businesses ideas fell flat due to mass over evaluations, unsustainable models and expensive and premature technology. The most important factor for decline of businesses like AskJeeves, eToys.com, Boo.com, whose reproductions are extremely successful today was, insufficient customers online to drive the e-commerce.
The Fourth Wave will tap into the full range of human cognitive and perceptual abilities including some yet to be explored, empowering talented individuals as never before. There is a fundamental seismic shift in the way business is done. Technology, innovation, disruption, connectivity, economic uncertainties, market demand are some of the factors that will change the nature of work. In this time, traditional hierarchies will be challenged and those who adapt to the changing dynamics will survive. Skills will have to be constantly upgraded, humans and machine will work together and specialized jobs will arise.
While consumer technology is evolving and making full use of human cognitive abilities, are enterprises looking at the technology they are deploying to suit the changing nature of work? How can organizations adapt to millennial workforce, gig economy, constantly changing skill requirements to keep in line customer expectations, the speed of innovation and automation? When we look at the next wave while riding on the fourth wave, what do we see? Watch this space for our next edition on this topic.