Groundswell technology comes to consumers first. At home, we get social, mobile, video and cloud services pitched to us 24x7. Empowering technologies will always come to consumers first because it's a wide-open market. A single developer can build an application that changes the world from a broadband-connected bedroom.
All this technology puts tremendous power directly into the hands of customers and they often have more information than your sales or services team does. You'd better make sure you give customers better information than they can get elsewhere.
The only way to do that is to empower employees to directly engage the needs and expectations of customers. Fortunately, they are not standing still. Your innovative employees are already building new solutions using these same technologies to solve customer problems. In fact, 37% of US information workers use do-it-yourself technology to get work done. It's covert innovation – your employees solving your business problems at the ground level.
The challenge is to support this innovation while keeping the company safe. That takes a whole new way of thinking and acting. It takes an empowered IT organization working under a new set of principles.
Empowerment is chapter 3 in the Internet story. Chapter 1 was the Web. Chapter 2 was Social Computing. It has that feel of inevitability. Companies like Best Buy that empower employees to solve customer problems will win. Companies that don't will lose.
11th–15th March 2011