Challenging the Status Quo: Consumer Technology’s Rising Influence

We’re spending this week in Las Vegas at our largest global client conference, Fusion. For the blog, we’ve gathered up some of the thoughts and ideas that are driving us and what people are hearing about at our keynote addresses.Pictured below: John Love, Executive Vice President, Technology & Thomas DePasquale, Executive Vice President, Strategy.

While 2011 has not seen many of the grand predictions from the futurists of the early 1900s (pneumatic tube travel, a 10 hour workweek and the overpromised but always out-of-reach personal jetpack), we have avoided many of their worst fears. Instead of enabling the enslavement of mankind by dictators as George Orwell feared, advanced technologies and a rapid exchange of information are playing a major role in setting us free – politically, economically, intellectually and socially. Amateur astronomers are making their own planetary discoveries, communities without the right to assemble are coming together to voice their protests, and filmmakers and musicians in underdeveloped parts of the world are finding diverse audiences online. Entrepreneurs are now everywhere and their ability to follow through with their ideas has never been greater. Even with all the competition from a democratized Internet, independent bloggers (writers, journalists, artists, agitators, etc.) with something to say can stand out from the multitudes without the need for, or nod from, traditional gatekeepers.

This is consumer-technology’s ability to empower the individual. Today, organizations like Concur are harnessing innovation together with partners, customers and users to create something new and valuable to everyone. Companies that are slow to realize this may actually find themselves left behind (or at the very least, left with unhappy employees or discontent customers). The innovations that have transformed and helped to define our home lives are following us to the office.

Why should end-users struggle with business applications that aren’t user friendly? Why should employees who perform their banking or plan their travel from a smartphone be barred from doing the same at work? These questions will only continue to be asked in greater numbers by employees and end users, and they will need to be answered. The best answers that organizations will give will be the ones that look at these changes and the rising influence from individuals as an opportunity—for better products, work life, processes—instead of a simple challenge to the status quo. As Charles Kettering once said, "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought us progress." True words.

To join the Fusion conversation, follow conference happenings on @ConcurInc on Twitter, search on the #fusion2011 hashtag, or visit our Concur Facebook page.

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