May 062014

Volatility is relative. Some fields, like accounting, move slowly. Other fields, like technology and marketing, move much faster. Business models and business technology move as fast as any field on the planet. The challenge is both exciting and daunting.

At Villanova University, I tell my business technology students that they have chosen a field that never ends, is always changing, and will bear no resemblance to itself in three years, every three years. Most of the students are excited about the prospects of never being bored, but others are apprehensive about graduating with an immediately obsolete degree, knowing that in order to succeed as business technology professionals, they must remain in at least “street college” (what we used to call “on-the-job training”) forever — no exceptions. My view is that business technology powers the world and that it’s much more exciting — and rewarding — to hit ever-moving targets than to close the books on time. No, we should not all be accountants just because accounting changes so infrequently compared to business models and technologies.

Instead, we should formalize the complexities and opportunities around business models and technologies and proactively embrace the volatility of these areas with some of the approaches described in my recent Cutter IT Journal article, “It’s 2020: What Business Technology Professionals Should Know and Do — And How They Should Prepare.” Identifying and acquiring the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to pursue ever-changing business models and technologies is our job today, in 2020, and forever.

Conventional learning, use case analyses, business technology play, sabbaticals, internships, social networking, and crowdsourcing can all help, especially if we meaningfully invest in them and related approaches. While I do not think that perfect prediction (and therefore learning) is possible, I do think that there are steps we can take to widen and deepen our knowledge, skills, and competencies around new business models and technologies that can help prepare us for the changes in 2020 and beyond.


Stephen Andriole

Dr. Stephen J. Andriole is a Fellow with Cutter's Business Technology and Digital Transformation Strategies practice. Dr. Andriole's career has focused on the development, application and management of information technology and analytical methodology to complex business problems.


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