The advancing of technology part 3

In the past few years, Information Technology has been advanced much faster than most people thought. These technologies can give every company significant opportunities to improve productivity, performance, market impact, and profits. But it can also create a serious threat to companies who fail to adapt it quickly. Among 500 largest companies in the world at the end of the 20th century, only 167 companies are still operating when others had to close or bankrupted.

Despite the threat of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 where technology changes everything, many company leaders are still confused and do not know what to do. They have been successful based on the past but they cannot see the future as many emerging technologies are happening so fast and overwhelmed them. Every day, they heard from newspapers and TV media about Digital transformation, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data or Robotics etc. but they do not know how to adjust to take advantage of these technologies.

As technology continues to change at a rapid rate, it is important for the company to focus on the hiring of younger graduates who have these skills than rely on workers with obsoleted knowledge. Business leaders need to focus on applying new technology to take the “first advantage” rather than failing to compete in a fiercely competitive market. Basically, new technologies can create more opportunities for company who could adjust the fastest. For example, If Amazon is still depending on selling things online then it never grows to be one of the biggest companies in the world. Today Amazon is an “Everything company”, from selling things online to provide cloud computing services, from selling food to launching satellites etc. and it is still growing, expanding to other businesses. If Google is still depending on providing “Search” then it never grows to be one of the most profitable companies in the world. Today Google is an “Everything company”, providing search and multimedia services (YouTube), developing Self-driving cars technology, conducting research on Biotechnology and many other things etc.

If you look back at the 20th century, most of the largest companies were manufacturing (Steels, Automobile etc.) and natural resources developing companies (Oil, Gas etc.) but if you look at the most successful companies today almost two-thirds of them are technology companies. If you look at the list of billionaires today, almost two-thirds of them came from technology domain or invest in technology. For the 20th century, the popular fields of study are business, finance, accounting, management and sales as they meet the needs of manufacturing and natural resource companies. For the 21st century, the popular fields of study are Computer Science, Software Engineering, and Electronic Engineering as they meet the need of a technology-driven economy.

If you do not think about global competition then you do not understand the connected world where everything is fully integrated with technology. Many company leaders do not think competitors would come to their local market and compete with them. They are wrong. I often warned: “The fast food restaurant is only the beginning then the larger retail supermarket will come, and eventually the online business will take over.” Not long ago, every country has a lot of small restaurants where a family can make a living comfortably. However, with the expansion of fast foods companies such as McDonald, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbuck etc. many smaller restaurants are now close as they cannot compete. Not long ago, every country has a lot of markets with many smaller retail stores where family businesses can make a living comfortably. However, with the expansion of supermarkets such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Lotte Mart etc. many smaller markets and retail stores are now close as they cannot compete. However, just a matter of time when the online businesses come such as WalMart, Amazon, Alibaba, and Tencent etc. The entire market can be turned upside down as local companies will not be able to compete with these giants.

Technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics can change many things. These are very effective when combined with businesses to propel a company’ s transformation from small to big, and from big to the giant. The question is where to find the right leaders who understand these technologies? Where to find the right workers who can implement these technologies? The answer is from the education system if it can change fast enough. The foundation of any economic prosperity is depending on the education system’s ability to produce graduates with the knowledge and skills who can drive the economy and transform it from an agricultural to manufactural and from manufactural to technological focus. Knowing these facts, as a student today, you should focus on learning about science and technology.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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