The Impact of the Internet
Since we are approaching the end of year, I was thinking back to the end of the 20th century. The year was 1999 and at the time I worked as an Internet strategy consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. I lectured and advised a range of senior executives about the consequences the Internet was going to have for their businesses and organizations
I remember telling retailers that according to IDC global e-commerce
revenue was going to reach several billion dollars within five years. I told people from the record industry they should move to completely new business models
(for the younger people amongst you, at the time people were still buying music on CDs; iTunes and YouTube didn't exist yet).
I told people from the banking industry that the Internet was going to revolutionize the relationship with their customers
, required a total redesign of their back office systems
, and was going to change their organizations
(banking retail networks). Just to mention a few things ☺.
Hardly anyone believed me. People were responding: "... but Mr. de Jonge, we have been in this business for over 100 years and now you're telling us that all of this is going to change real soon, come on, surely you can't be serious, ha ha".
Obviously these people were wrong. But so was I, because the impact of the Internet turned out to be a lot bigger than even I imagined. A big part of that was caused by combining Internet with mobile technology into user-friendly smart phones (thanks to the creative genius of Steve Jobs).
Does that mean that we now more or less understand the future impact of the Internet? My 2 cents is that we do not, because we have just seen the beginning. There is more, much more yet to come. I believe most of that will be caused by combining internet technology with all kinds of other technologies. Google Glass and Apple Watch are just initial, obvious consumer examples.
Such combinations of the internet with other technologies will make things easier for people and completely change the way we communicate, live, learn, work, and manage our organizations and businesses. The impact of the Internet beyond 2015 will be a lot bigger than its impact until now
. Do you agree?