The USA-based analyst team will be off Wednesday for ‘The Fourth of July.’ It is actually “Independence Day.” Most people don’t know why 4 July 1776 is called Independence Day. It is the day on which the 13 British Colonies on the eastern coast of North America, below Canada, finally gathered enough votes from each of the colonies to ratify a document declaring independence from British rule.
It is a lot of what is happening within the departments of major businesses, and what is happening between consumers and the companies that they buy from: independence and free choice. The shackles of IT that have forced otherwise clever people to use business application software designed for worklife in 1980 are falling. Cloud computing has unleashed dozens of new companies with new designs, with collaborative interfaces, with inline intelligence.
A year before the Declaration was signed, Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Randolph (see http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21002), “Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America.”
Can’t you just hear HR, the VP of Sales, the Chief Marketing Officer, the Director of Customer Support, and your customers, saying something similar about you in IT? Or about you, the enterprise? The terms of the customer relationship are undergoing a re-write. The relationship between the worker and the enterprise have gone in a less sympathetic direction – we may be seeing the end of the ‘Employee.’ But there are enlightened businesses still, those that put customer and worker at the center of the equation and ask: how can our products and services enrich the lives of each, and shareholders as well?
There is reason to be hopeful on the grand and elongated arc of business (and government) history. The US story has taken a long time to unfold, and it has not been uniformly wonderful. Yet the core of freedom, choice, and participation in the creative process continues to serve as a signpost for many that improvement comes when the systems are built for change.