Not even a month ago I had an interesting conversation with my 11 year old daughter. As we were getting into the car I pulled a CD from my bag and as I was getting ready to put it into the car's CD player my daughter asked me a simple question: "What is that?"
It took me a few seconds to answer as I was trying to figure out if she was serious. "Surely you must know what this is – it's a CD." My comment was returned with a blank stare and the conversation that followed centered on "Why would anyone use that when you can download all your songs?"
This made me think about several things, but one thing that I keep coming back to is that she and her friends will be entering the workforce in the next 8 to 10 years. This raises several interesting questions. Are today's companies ready to meet the expectations of the younger generations in terms of the technology they use? How can a business take steps today to ensure that there is a long term benefit and alignment with upcoming technological advances?
The reality is that technology is advancing at an exponential rate and this means that businesses need to be able to adapt at the same rate. As an example, let's look at the history of hard drive storage. In 1956 IBM introduced a hard drive that was the size of a refrigerator, weighed more than a ton, and it had a capacity of 5MB – roughly the size of a single song. It took us another 50 years to get to the point where hard drives were small and built into personal computers but were still on average about 100MB in size. However, 10 years later hard drives are now built into everything – from a key chain to a pen, and can hold terabytes of data. Can you imagine what next 10 years will bring?
How can businesses keep up with the rapid advances in technology and growing expectations of the young adults that are going to be entering the workforce in the next few years? Like with most complex issues, there is no "silver bullet", no guaranteed solution. However, there are certain best practices and rules that can be followed to ensure that businesses will be in position to adopt the latest technology and take advantage of it. These practises focus on "how" rather than "what" because "what" keeps changing from year to year.