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December 5, 2012

Embracing what must Pervade your Business. And Society.

Posted by Mohit Joshi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 3:41 AM


What never gets old are photographs of some the earliest computers first leveraged by banks. Some of the first models were so big....they occupied entire rooms! Of course, the size of those machines belied their computational power. The time it took that behemoth to process a handful of simple computations is longer than the millions of complex computations churned out by today's small and elegantly styled machines. But compare the evolution of computers with how banks have walked the evolution path themselves. The comparison can often be startling: Whereas financial institutions have armed themselves with computer and technological capabilities that were unimaginable just a few years ago, sometimes, some of them are structured so that their complexities remain an uneasy and awkward appendage to the organizations. Of course, pervasive computing aims to change all that. By embedding sensors and controllers into everyday devices used in the workplace, financial institutions can create seamless interactions between their employees, clients, partners, and the technology that powers it all. The notion here is that when the enterprise embraces pervasive computing, it can turn anything into an integral part of its technology-led business strategy.  Tech gurus might call this "becoming one with the computer." It's how we interact with the increasingly hardwired (or wireless, for that matter) world around us.

But, is that all? Couldn't this thinking extend to include more than just myopic technology-led business strategy? And to pervade all that's important to us as a people. Yet, driven viably by the enterprise. Because today, we're in the midst of the most exciting era ever. Corporations made up of thousands of smart, energetic people have replaced research institutes and governments as the centers of innovation and human progress. Businesses are blazing new trails with their research and innovation. And the fruits of their work are purchased and consumed by millions of people around the world. The trick, however, lies in identifying what's relevant. And recognizing when it's time to shift gears and blaze a new trail. Unlike previous decades, when channels of communication were one-sided, the explosion of social networks means that human lots more stakeholders and influencers. The most successful companies, today, are the ones that understand this and leverage these new channels to bring their users - the people out there - to participate in fine-tuning products. Think financial inclusion and banking the unbanked. Think micro-transactions. Think mobile money. 
But, with greater success, of course, comes greater responsibility. A society in the throes of such a revolution must grapple with its attendant challenges as well. This mandates that the actions of financial institutions - in fact all corporations - and their employees help hurdle some of these - like making technology affordable to all; across classes and geo-borders, finding technology-led solutions to global wealth inequities and preserving the environment. Successful corporations will be those that can treat this quest not just as corporate social responsibility but as their business mainstay...as a genuine opportunity for growth and radical progress.

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