Head in the Clouds? It Soon Will Be…

To operate a 21st Century business, embracing online technology is essential. Many businesses are future proofing their organisation by looking at how up-and-coming innovations can benefit all aspects of their operations.

A recent masterclass business event on social media run by Somerset County Council brought together over 130 business leaders from across the county. Guest speaker Dr Peter Cochrane OBE (a futurist and advisor to international industries and Governments) left delegates in no doubt that business innovation and growth in the future will be driven by social networks, cloud computing and superfast broadband.

“Over the past 5 years, a surge of new technologies coupled with the global financial crisis has changed everything and there is no going back” said Dr Cochrane.

“For business, change is the new constant! It isn’t just manufacturing and supply that has gone global, people and expertise are now international too.”

“Outsourcing, in-sourcing and virtual working are being overtaken by dispersed teams engaged in research, design and manufacture, with open software, access and networks now embracing open hardware and open innovation.”

“Social networks and The Cloud are no longer interesting side lines; they are becoming the new drivers of innovation and growth.”

Where to start?
Delegates at the masterclass were forward-thinking in their approach to social media for business. Many felt that they needed more information on how some of these tools worked before they could start to embrace them effectively whilst others felt that they would benefit from seeing what other companies are doing and learning from that. Some delegates felt there needed to be greater synergy between social media and other marketing and branding activities with a clear focus on monitoring results and the impact of social media on business success.

Connectivity is Crucial
Developing a strategic approach to using social media is proving essential to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Tremendous opportunities exist online, but making the most of these opportunities begins with having a reliable broadband network that provides the capacity to exploit tools that are available. Establishing the next generation of broadband across Devon and Somerset should be a major step forward in making this happen.

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