Business and Technology
Globalization requires innovative approaches to education, producing graduates who understand the interconnections between business, economies and technologies around the world. Today the term technology is often referring to nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology.
Currently these technologies are posing challenges to existing business. They not only disrupt the markets for established products but also change customer expectations. For example, Information technology has disrupted well established businesses with on-line stores. Biotechnology has disrupted the agriculture market by creating gene-modified crops that can grow at adverse condition. Nanotechnology has disrupted life sciences, electronics, and healthcare industry by create new products that do not even exist few years ago. Together these new technologies can drive business that applies them to higher values.
In order to understand the impact of these technologies, education systems must change. Instead of viewing technology as an isolate field, they need to look at it as a force that must be studied, analyzed, and integrated. Current education does not teach technology integration. For example, business students do not need to learn about technology and technology students do not need to learn about marketing or finance. The new education system must develop knowledgeable students that can integrate technology, business and other objectives into a “total picture” for the already connected world. This integration approach is needed in order for students to understand the impact of technology in both current and future market. Only by having a total view, they can identify technology solutions to be adopted for achieving business objectives. Students must be able to identifying existing and future needs and which technologies that can meet these needs. New technologies are opening up new business opportunities but if you miss it, competitors will gain advantage because with globalization, competition will be fierce.
In traditional business, technology plays a supportive role but today technology must play a strategic role and company that know how to take advantage of technology will do well. For example, Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook are businesses where technology plays a strategic role. Google does not make money on its search engine but on advertising. The more people use Google, the higher price it charges its advertising customers. Amazon started as online books retailer but its information technology allowed it to expand into other areas, including provides cloud computing services. eBay started as an auction model for used things but its technology help expanding it into a giant retail market. Facebook began as a social network for college students in Harvard but now it become a social network that connect more than half billion people on earth. These companies have exploited the power of technology to reach huge markets and achieved significant business values that did not exist before.
Fast changing technology requires major changes in business processes and employee roles. New thinking, new vision and new management method are needed. Current top down hierarchy is no longer valid and must be replaced by a more agile management system that can quickly change to meet new market demand. Companies must be reorganized to meet new market reality. Management must adapt continuous learning to make the right decision. Integrating technology and business management is a multidimensional approach but today only few businesses know how to do that effectively. That is why education must change to create business advantage and market leadership to sustained growth. Technology is not just a means to make money but also an element that transforms products and customer expectations. Technology management has to be seen as a strategic planning issue that deserves serious attention and has to be integrated with business management.
- Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University