The Planet Re-wiring Itself

Geoffrey Moore’s article, Systems of Engagement and The Future of Enterprise IT, was an eye opening read. The article starts by explaining (p. 1),

Over the past decade, there has been a fundamental change in the axis of IT innovation… consumers, students and children [are] leading the way, with early adopting adults and nimble small to medium size businesses following, and it is the larger institutions who are, frankly, the laggards…

And then adding (p. 1),

Our initial response might be to dismiss this trend as not really relevant to the issues of business… [The answer is] [i]n a word, No. In two words, emphatically No. What is transpiring is momentous, nothing less than the planet wiring itself a new nervous system.

And then wrapping with (p. 1),

So at minimum, if you expect [today’s digitally connected consumers] to be your customers, your employees, and your citizens (and, frankly, where else could you look?), then you need to apply THEIR expectations to the next generation of enterprise IT systems.

Wow. This frank description of the trajectory of consumer expectations and businesses requirement to meet it is far-reaching. Moore makes it clear that new and old businesses alike need to not only adapt to this new online world, but become a fluid part of it. It is no longer acceptable for a business to simply have an online presence, they must actually be present online. The new consumer expects to have immediate and personal feedback from the companies they engage with. The business that can meet this expectation will be the one best poised to lead their industries in the next decade.

So what does this look like for marketers and technical communicators in the business world? It takes the exciting shape of merged departments, whose combined talents do more to attract and retain clients than any billboard or online banner ad ever could. This new team, is not only well suited to craft a message for the masses, but to carry a company message and service into the online realm in a way that actually benefits the world’s online community. This team will need to be poised to develop and deliver the benefits that will surely be the next expectation of these growing online consumer relationships.

The online community that demands these relationships and steadily gains knowledge of their collective power, will certainly continue to require more from these businesses. As our worlds become more connected and society more aware of others’ needs and business’ abilities to meet them, the next requirement of these businesses will likely be a form of philanthropy: whether a donation toward a scholarship, the improvement of a local building, or the creation of an aid fund. Is it possible that consumer’s may be on the path to improve society’s “health” with their collective buying power and evolved expectations?

Posted on October 28, 2012, in Social Media, Society, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It’s interesting that you mentioned a business’ philanthropy in your post, and a consumer’s power to improve the health of society. The project I mentioned (The Human Face of Big Data) in my post is donating $1 per download to Charity: Water, an organization devoted to providing clean water to developing nations. I must say, that promise of a donation helped to influence me to actually download the app, risk the “invasion of privacy” and participate in the project.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Rob. It is interesting to know that the company’s donation helped you justify the “invasion of privacy.” Possibly we feel more trust in a such a company? Or maybe it is just that it becomes worth the risk, as you mentioned. Either way, it could be an interesting spin on e-commerce… even if my point is a tad over-reaching in scope! 😉

  3. “So what does this look like for marketers and technical communicators in the business world? It takes the exciting shape of merged departments, whose combined talents do more to attract and retain clients than any billboard or online banner ad ever could.”

    I don’t think your points are over-reaching at all. This is exactly what is going to happen (it already is starting to). My company has maybe a dozen customer documentation groups, a training group (where I work), numerous account teams, and call centers all over the world. This is really expensive, and the fragmentation that used to be difficult to see, is painfully obvious when you combine them on the same web site. What does it look like when training, docs, and account teams all write the same procedure three times and they are all different?

    I don’t know what this new person will be called, since they aren’t a tech writer and they aren’t a marketer, but technical communicator is the best fit I can think of.

  4. Yes, it’s moving beyond social media to social strategy. Our undergrad program director mentioned this Progressive Insurance case to us on Advisement Day and I can’t believe I’d missed it:

    See what happens when autobots tweet replies and show how heartless they can be?

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