There’s no doubt that the rate of change when it comes to technology is speeding up. Businesses now can do much more with their systems than they could even a few years ago.
(Check out our Top 3 Distribution Technology Trends for 2013.)
Tony Pericle, author of Transforming Data into Action, told MDM last year that today’s $2,000 desktop is hundreds of times more powerful than the million-dollar mainframe of 20 years ago. That means what can be done with today’s computers simply could not have been done with the millions of dollars invested decades ago.
In fact, I’d argue that technology is helping to drive increasing rates of change in wholesale distribution, and vast improvements in access to that technology are making it possible for distributors of all sizes to compete on a more even playing field. The use of the cloud to deliver applications is one reason, but some technology has become so prolific, including e-commerce, that distributors that don’t get on board may find themselves at a disadvantage. Even some of the larger distributors are taking note of the need to upgrade, and fast. Airgas addressed its plans to prioritize e-commerce just last month. Mobile may be one of those tools, whether for salespeople to do their jobs better or so that customers can access your available product inventory at a job site.
Analytics is another area where improving technology has made it easier and faster to measure performance and identify opportunities for growth.
As more businesses grow more sophisticated, they continue to raise the bar, according to Mike Emerson of Indian River Consulting Group, speaking in an interview with MDM in 2012 on sales compensation best practices.
And the generational shift occurring in many distribution companies may also be a driver of new technology and change. Read more about that and other changes in distribution in 12 Trends in Distribution for 2013.