Recent client meetings have illustrated to me how far work practices and methods have progressed in a very short period time and how the ‘information age’ as the experts term it, continues to accelerate at frightening pace.
Take the solicitor firm we met the other day. Until recently, it was still having to send their inter-office legal documents by courier at the end of each day. Now, not only can that information travel electronically direct to a solicitor’s desk, but also to his iPad in the courtroom. This could mean the difference to the end user (in this instance the defendant) of winning the case. And of course we also have to take into account the amount of paper NOT used in this process; can you put a price on that?
Or the retailer who still had its store managers sending, by fax, at the end of day, takings and stock reports. Through the introduction of a recent SaaS/cloud solution much of this process is now electronic and automated- allowing its accountants and sales staff to concentrate on their real jobs of saving or making money.
Even how we communicate within our own office or clients has changed. Until relatively recently, if I had wanted a face-to-face meeting with our Network Operation Centre I would have had to spend half a day in transit for the sake of a half-hour meeting. Today I get to sit down in front of a TV screen with them at the other end of a live video link. This goes for many of our clients.
The flip side of this however means that it’s easier to manipulate information. Ten years ago, most people had not heard of spamming, blogs, twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia or even Wikileaks, but look at how it effects our daily lives now.
As we hurtle through the ‘information age’, with changes to the way we work happening at a rapid pace, and as our methods and work practices speed up in the process, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly how much things have changed and what those changes mean. A moment’s reflection can sometimes help put things in proper perspective.