Christopher Elliot’s Everything Wired Must Converge is a decade old article predicting most of what has already happened regarding networks and technology. “Convergence…will change the ways in which business is conducted.” By convergence he means the marrying of multiple business systems with the Internet. Imagine a world where your human resources, point of sale, inventory control and financial systems all spoke to each other…oh wait they do now.
A decade ago it was obvious to think that the Internet would play a big role in how we do business in the future. In Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody he talks as if the Internet is second nature and how the power of organizations help us run large businesses as well as maintain complex unmonitored systems like Wikipedia. Today the Internet is second nature, which makes reading Elliot’s account so amusing. Shirky states that “when we change the way we communicate, we change society,” (p 17). The changes Elliot predicts helped streamline communication and bring us close to the point of instantaneous communication. This change increased customer support and brought greater security and flexibility to businesses. No longer would customers would have to call the store to get shipping information, then call UPS to check when it would be delivered. Also, businesses became more condensed and transparent across departments.
The convergence Elliot speaks of is, in essence, the outcome of society evolving to make technology work for us. In doing this we are building organizations and groups of people through connections over a network. Creating a set of branded networks is something that Elliot predicts, although he predicts that we will pay for them. We see the emergence of branded networks in social applications like Facebook and Twitter. Organizations that run on complex connections show that to be social is to be human. Elliot and Shirky both agree that the possibilities of the Internet are worth investing in.
Slideshare Deck here.