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The Future is Here, but It’s Not Evenly Distributed

I think many of our best insights come when we are focused on something else entirely. Who hasn’t had the experience of grinding on some problem or question, only to have the solution mystically appear later, after we’d decided to take a break and focus our attention elsewhere?

I had been doing exactly that. I was distracting myself with a history podcast (history is my other passion) when I rediscovered a quote by William Gibson, an American-Canadian science fiction writer who is also credited with coining the term, “The future is already here,” he said. “It’s just not very evenly distributed.”

After a nano-second of processing power spinning in my brain, it occurred to me: My entire role at AVANT Research & Analytics is predicated on this truth. Next I thought, “Never mind me. This is also the very foundation of AVANT, itself.” This eureka moment was immediately followed up with, “Hey, this is actually why the Trusted Advisors are here, as well.”

Yes, indeed. There’s a big chunk of this industry whose sole purpose is based on the recognition that some people will embrace new things faster than others. And while it’s true that all that glitters is not necessarily gold, we can clearly see that new technologies can often be parlayed into sustainable business advantages that enable quantum leaps forward. Some people may fail to recognize the opportunity, or, for whatever reason, choose to remain behind.

So, in this weird, kind-of-esoteric way, the future does arrive in some places sooner than others. It’s not evenly distributed at all.

In this context, the future can be a fickle thing. She may favor certain industries, sub- segments, technologies, or business models at one time or another. Sometimes she favors urban areas over rural areas. If she has any loyalty at all, she tends to lean towards her true believers – the ones who employ a combination of research, hard work and even gut instinct to decide how to stay as close to the front of the progress wave as they dare. Reasonable people can disagree on where that most desirable point in the wave might be located. But in any case, that’s where Trusted Advisors, AVANT, and li’l ol’ me enter the equation.

In helping your company evaluate new technologies and potential strategies for leveraging whatever comes  next, we’re also helping you decide what level of the “future” you are prepared to have “distributed” to you. While embracing the “future” comes with a certain cost in treasure and comfort, it’s also easy to see how choosing to stand firmly on known ground while competitors move forward must, by definition, leave you behind.

Maybe it’s time to surrender your venerable old PBX for something that’s more full-featured and efficient from the UCaaS space. Perhaps SD-WAN will make all the difference in making your applications “sing.” It could be that your investment in IT security will provide the safety net necessary for you to leverage other technologies at much higher levels.

Your Trusted Advisors spend a lot of time, expertise, and energy discerning the ways that technology is evolving. No doubt you’ll want to be careful in planning your moves forward but be even more skeptical of inertia.

No matter where you are right now, the place you now stand will one day be in the past – whether you remain there or not.