F
uture managers will be managers in a rapidly changing environment. Technological and social change has become faster than ever before in the history of business, traditional means of communication have disappeared in a matter of a short space of years, things such as the fax machine, the typewriter and the teletype have all gone the way of the dinosaur. Fixed line telephones, with their reliance on fixed infrastructure, and their limiting of subscribers to a specific location, may well be next. Mobile communications have meant for many subscribers, instant access to communication networks, where previously there was no fixed line infrastructure for whatever reason. This rapid uptake of mobile communication has in return created many business opportunities for new entrepreneurs.

On the subject of cell phones, the trend has been towards smart phones, or devices with significantly enhanced capabilities, which has led to the coining of the term pocket PC. Recent introduction of WIFI enabled and 3G enabled tablet computing platforms have brought the concept of converged device computing one step closer to reality. Future managers will have to face these challenges when they make channel marketing decisions, when they formulate company policy with regard to sensitive information. The integration of converged devices into a network environment is subject which is receiving constant attention, and as mobile devices carry more processing power, the protocols to handle and control them have to become increasingly robust and secure.

With the explosion in social networking with sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to name but a few, future marketing managers may have to refocus their strategies when it comes to addressing their target markets, I would imagine that social networking will have a commercial aspect, as is already happening with Apple, where the devices they sell, are already advertisement enabled. As consumers how would we feel about that? Marketing managers may find very difficult conditions in the future and have to expand the field of individually targeted promotions and advertisements, through social media. This is already a trend which is past its infancy, and social websites like Facebook are allowing subscribers to create and post their own advertisements. Today Facebook will accept advertisements for just about any product or service, and also attempt to select a suitable target market based on geographic location and demographics. Interestingly they will also allow customers to select a pay per click type payment option which will suit the advertisers budget.

Many businesses still relying on more traditional methods to address potential customers, such as e-mail, are faced with ever more aggressive anti-spamming measures, taken by companies and mail server operators, which ensure that a large portion of promotional mails do not reach their intended victims. In some environments, up to 90% of e-mail traffic is spam, it is understandable to assume that advertisers also realize that the spamming era is about to end. So a new and more acceptable means of reaching individual consumers is needed, urgently. With the growth in social networking sites, this seems to be a good option, to reach individuals. It must also be noted that companies are run and managed and decisions made by individuals. So it would make sense to lobby or approach these individuals on a social platform.

The next step is to take the advertisements and select likely candidates based on personal likes and dislikes and agglomerate them into specific target groups, and to determine the best way to effectively to present the selected products or services to them. I believe that the businesses which attain the highest degree of technological nimbleness will be the ones who survive the next economic shakedown.

I also believe that the role of the knowledge worker will become vital in companies wishing to survive, and that the company’s assets will in future comprise not only of immovable and moveable goods but also vast stores of data, and the teams who are able to innovate new ideas and possibilities from existing knowledge as well as innovating totally new ideas and techniques. I believe also that companies who are able to turn data into knowledge, and knowledge into competitive advantage, are the ones who will survive. Workers who are able to deliver knowledge based results will be the ones taking companies forward in to the future.

I think future managers are going to live and manage in very interesting times.

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