Money & Business

Dion Hinchcliffe: Use Disruptive Technologies to Your Business Advantage

By / Dec 13, 2012 (Kevin Shockey/Flickr)

Technology advances are happening quickly, and it’s the smart organizations that will pick and choose their battles with innovation, IT and business strategy expert Dion Hinchcliffe said at the 2012 ASAE Technology Conference.

The world has moved, and we’re still trying to catch up.

“It is the best time to be an association, and it is also the most challenging time to be an association.”

That’s what IT and business strategy expert Dion Hinchcliffe told attendees at the 2012 ASAE Technology Conference & Expo last week in his closing address on “The Challenges and Opportunities of Business in the Disruptive Tech Era.”

He went on to explain that it’s the tension between the opportunities and the challenges posed by technology advances that is creating the dichotomy, and the main challenge posed by technology advancement is the pace at which it is happening. Not to mention the fact that’s it’s all happening at once.

“The world has moved, and we’re still trying to catch up,” Hinchcliffe said.

He added the most successful CIOs he’s talked to know they have to pick and choose their battles with innovation and focus on where the greatest value lies for their organizations. In order to help those in the audience wage their own battles, Hinchcliffe outlined four significant areas of technology advancement affecting businesses, including associations.

Mobile Devices

The mobile internet is growing faster than the desktop internet by five times, Hinchcliffe noted.

Mobile devices are not just laptops. They enable all new types of things to happen, including voice control and location awareness. “Mobile devices are changing the customer relationship, and it’s the smart companies that are thinking mobile first,” Hinchcliffe said.

He also advised associations to own their relationships with customers and members, create what they really want, and put it on a mobile device to establish that presence. Do this before an intermediary beats you to it, he warned, or else the third party will be the one engaging with your members.

Social Networks

Currently, there are more than 400 social networks with more than 1 million users. It is the dominant form of internet communication on the planet, Hinchcliffe said.

This is creating channel fragmentation. Before, we just had to build websites, but now we have to tap into all of this global conversation, and we have to be part of that conversation if we want to continue to be relevant and be engaged with customers and members.

Hinchcliffe noted three factors for social media success—strategy, prioritization, and dedicated staff—and said the biggest challenge for the future will be figuring out how to engage with customers and members through social media, especially as it increasingly replaces other forms of communication.

The cloud and big data

The cloud is increasingly subversive—it’s everywhere, Hinchcliffe said. And with the cloud comes the issue of privacy, security, and control because “no organization can survive the total loss of its data.”

On the subject of data, Hinchcliffe noted we are experiencing a tidal wave of information, and we have to be able to filter it to get any value from it. Organizations need simple, easy-to-use business intelligence tools to gain actionable insights from the mounds of data now available.

With these and other advances in technology, it is going to be hard for business to keep up, Hinchcliffe said before he advised associations to become “resilient to constant change.” Don’t ignore or resist the changes, but embrace the opportunities that those changes create.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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