Our world continues to change at an increasing rate. The popular YouTube video series “Shift Happens” staggers us with statistics about the information age and how we continue to adopt
different digital means to communicate and reference information. Social media is rapidly replacing other forms of
knowledge transfer like print media and news programs.
If Facebook’s population were a country, it would be the
third largest in the world. People are more likely to find
jobs, spouses and medical information on the Internet than
through personal contacts. Just when we were getting com-
fortable using fax machines as a replacement for postal
services, e-mailed scans and cloud-based repositories are
replacing fax documents and hard drive storage systems. In
fact, emails are giving way to short message service (texts),
posts and tweets because who has time to compose and
read electronic mail anymore? There is a massive prolifer-
ation of online and digital content competing for our atten-
tion everyday. The total number of text messages sent and
read exceeds the total population of the world. Where will
this end? That’s the point…it won’t because the information
shift continues to happen.
Specific to the purchaser of products and services, the cus-tomer/consumer/client/broker/decision-maker is now “always
on” 24x7 to execute an electronic order or execute your company’s reputation virally if dissatisfied with an experience. The
customer is better informed about a purchase decision than
ever before given the plethora of reviews, blogs and technical
content available on the Internet. In short, today’s consumer
does not want to be “sold to;” they want to be “served.”
THE TRADITIONAL ENTERPRISE
So what does this age of Internet information sharing
mean for businesses, especially in terms of brand marketing, customer interface and supply chain management?
Quite simply, in order to be competitive in this highly connected world of the consumer, the business enterprise must
be equally connected internally and globally with its commercial partners. But that evolution is slow to happen.
The typical business enterprise is a collection of assets
and information, ranging from
machines, facilities, supplies,
capital and workers on the
asset side, and transactions,
accounts and business met-
rics on the information side.
Unfortunately, the enterprise
made three tactical errors in
designing its early information systems:
1. Assets and business information were linked on a
“batch” basis and by “
account” rather than using a
continuous flow, real-time
2. Information systems were
developed incrementally and
fragmented by organizational
function for a singular purpose
with no holistic curating of information across departments.
Data were parsed out on a
“need-to-know” basis rather
than shared seamlessly through
integrated systems to keep
■ By Ron Guido, President, LifeCare Services, LLC, consultant to Covectra, Inc.
The information age and the shift in consumerism
The Connected Enterprise