Article (September-2016)


Digital Cultures- Age of the Intellect

Dr. Ganesh Shermon

Designation : -   Managing Partner for

Organization : -  KPMG LLP


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The world of 2020! Awesome to look forward!! But, as we write, BNN reports, "George Clemenceau, the premier of France in WW1, once famously stated that "War is too serious a matter to be left to the military" (often misquoted as "to be left to the generals"). 100 years later, on another battleground, the global economy, the Central Banks are battling to get people and businesses to spend", today's world economy is changing rapidly. Not because of external factors alone. But owing to an implosion to. World events like the Eurozone debt crisis for Europe, the shrinking of manufacturing growth in China for Chinese currency, the downgrading of the North American economy for US debt, US economy is stalling, declining earnings, yet with very record high valuations, TINA, fall in Canadian dollar for Balance of trade, BREXIT for UK, (Economist writes, The Bank of England had not changed base rates in seven years, but when it finally moved, it did so with a bang. In response to the low growth it expects in the wake of Brexit, it cut rates by a quarter point, to 0.25%, expanded its quantitative easing scheme and introduced a new funding scheme for banks. 

Organizations seldom get time to adapt themselves to the rapidly changing business landscape. Thus, in the existing scenario, the impact of culture, smart talent and leadership cannot be overemphasised. Organizations need leadership which can make sense amidst this ambiguity, find patterns in the chaos and take charge to meet the desired end. Business leaders, on the other hand, need to address these challenges and skilfully manoeuvre their respective organizations to the next level. Increasingly there is a new generation of corporate life, which have become more dependent on the machine and its application. Their orientation to work life has become computer centric, sometimes meaningless, cynical and self-defeating. Their orientation has been to move on and on into cyberspace, move into the knowledge based business and hope to keep their psychic space intact. 

What is the Business Case for Digital Cultures? 
Why is intellect determining business value realization in a global context? At a simplistic level software organization, consulting, advisory firms, study, new product development, design and generic knowledge based value-adding companies (advertising, financial services, communication, entertainment, education, multi-product conglomerate corporations) are treated as knowledge firms given their role in development of raw data, creation of unknown into known and the utilization of people as the primary state of creators.  Knowledge thrives in cultures where intellect and learning is respected. Intellect is found in intelligent companies. Intelligent companies attract intellectual talent. And such talent can only be attracted and retained by organizations that has a culture that supports learning, intellectual contribution and acquisition of knowledge. 

"The first wave was focused on creating the infrastructure of the online world; it was dominated by companies like AOL, Cisco, and Microsoft. The second wave was driven by software as a service; it was - and still is - dominated by companies like Google, Uber, Workday and Facebook. The third wave, says Case, will be "an era when the term 'Internet-enabled' will start to sound as ludicrous as the term 'electricity-enabled.'" In this phase, the Internet of Things will become the Internet of Everything". Steve Case in "Surfing the Internet's Next Big Wave", MIT SMR 2016, writes, "How to beat the Ubers of tomorrow: The book that every tech titan eventually gets around to penning has been a long time coming from Steve Case. "I am writing this book today," explains the co-founder of AOL (through which half of the traffic on the Internet once flowed) and the co-architect of its jaw-dropping merger with Time Warner, "because we are living at a pivotal point in history, and I want to offer whatever perspective I can to ensure a bright future." The perspective that Case offers in The Third Wave (with a bow to futurist Alvin Toffler) will be particularly interesting to the leaders of large companies that are well-established in their industries. He contends that we are entering a new phase of Internet growth".