Acclerating growth, not managing it, was the challenge technologist and author Daniel Burrus issued to attendees of CompTIAs Breakaway convention held in Orlando this week.
Burrus, who is the author of Technotrends, told an audience of about 500 voice and data VARs the key to their future success is to anticipate problems they can solve for their customers.
If you just give them what they ask for, it is just a commodity, he said. We need to anticipate what they need.
To those who say you cant predict the future, Burrus said, Nonsense. He spoke about the Visible Future, which are the parts you can see if you know how and where to look. He was not talking about normal and predictable business cycles. There is no advantage to knowing what everybody else knows, he said of such information, referring instead to circumstances that can be predicted, such as what will happen to the stock market once the baby boomers retire.
Unlike hindsight, which is full of lament over not seeing something coming, he said, Foresight is the opposite. It gives you the ability to see whats coming and take advantage of it.
If you can anticipate permanent changes, now you have an advantage, he said, drawing a distinction between soft trends that might happen and hard trends that will happen.
One of the things he said is a certainty: Every year, everyone will be asked to do more with less.
This creates an opportunity for VARs to help companies leverage time with technology, Burrus said. He cited an example of how critical care nurses cut down on four hours of daily conversations with patients relatives by giving them pagers alerting them to status changes. While the pagers are an older technology, it saved the nurses on average three hours a day they could use for other tasks. It doesnt matter if its high tech or low tech or old tech. Its what we are doing with it, he said.
He added, Time is the currency of the new century without question. We ought to be auditing our time, he said, lamenting a lack of guidelines on the appropriate use of tools, such as e-mail, voice mail, conferencing and so on.