Businesses Unable to Keep Up with Technological Change May Disappear by 2020

Business leaders are expecting wrenching change to their industry sectors in the future, due to the impacts of technology, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Ricoh. The research, set for full release in March 2012, reveals more than one third (37%) of leaders surveyed believe their organisation will be unable to keep up with technology and they will lose their competitive edge. A third of IT industry leaders believe their businesses will disappear altogether, while six out of 10 survey respondents believe the markets where they operate will be significantly altered between now and 2020, bearing little similarity to today.

Business structures are also likely to change: 63% predict a shift to decentralised structures with a far-reaching devolution of business decision-making authority move to the periphery of organisations. Adding to this, they believe that customers will generate almost as many new ideas for the improvement of business processes as employees. And by 2020, customers will generate the most new product or service ideas.

David Mills, executive vice president, operations, Ricoh Europe, said: “Over the last two decades we’ve experienced more technology driven change in business than any other. It is also clear that more change will happen and it is employees and customers that will play a key role in driving the changes by the way they are using it. That is why we believe that the successful businesses of 2020 will be those that place greater emphasis upon process innovation.

“The key to building a more agile business that is ready to embrace the changes is to have the right infrastructure in place to manage it successfully. Business leaders need to ask the question – are the information infrastructures inside our organisations future proof? By understanding how business critical information connects across the entire business, an organisation can reengineer its processes to ensure that it is maximising employee knowledge sharing and is able to respond effectively to customer demands.”

In addition 59% of those surveyed agree that the concept of non-digital information will be utterly foreign to most employees by 2020. “While the acceleration of digital information is certain to increase inside organisations, the challenge is to ensure critical business processes, both digital and non-digital are integrated and easily accessed by employees across the organisation”, added Mills. “This becomes even more crucial with the steady increase of mobile working and the need to access information across multiple locations.”


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