Technology and the Modern Corporation

The last panel I attended at Brainstorm was about how technology is changing the modern corporation.

We are at the end of the command and control world. We are at the beginning of the coordinate and cultivate world.

Tom Malone from the Sloan School says we are seeing a movement toward human freedom in business that may be as fundamental as democracy was in government 200 years ago. We had kings running our corporations, but now we are headed to democracies. Information technology allows for information flows down the organization which enables this democratization of management.

Vivek Paul, CEO of Wipro, says that high transaction cost operations are getting automated or outsourced. Supply chain automation and customer relationship management are big examples. Lower transaction costs and globalization are creating enormous efficient and dynamic markets. Corporations can become highly reactive to market forces.

Jonathan Schwartz, President, Sun Microsystems, said that Sun has allowed blogging for 100% of the workforce. 32,000 sun employees can now “represent” Sun in the marketplace.

Mark Anderson of Strategic News Service says that if you take the globalization and technology trends to its logical conclusion, then eventually corporations will trump nations.

In the audience was Meg Whitman and the comment was made that eBay is a community of 40 million people and Meg Whitman is the Mayor.

Very interesting stuff to think about.