Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist once said that inventing is a lot like surfing, “you have to anticipate and catch the wave at just the right moment”. To be a “good” surfer you need to be in condition and you need to have a passion for the ocean and nature. But to be a “great” surfer you need to be able to look out over the horizon and anticipate because wave selection is what separates great surfers from good surfers. At this year’s Wolters Kluwer Technology Conference, we are looking out over the horizon to see what opportunities will likely come our way.
This is difficult because a number of macroeconomic and competitive unknowns lie between our company and the swells of opportunity moving in our direction. Still, there is a framework within which we can think about opportunity amid uncertainty to help us anticipate and then select the next wave.
I believe our business is evolving along two dimensions—1) The Computing dimension where we find ourselves today in the Post PC era barreling towards an era of Ubiquitous Computing or, what Adam Greenfield has termed, “EveryWare” and; 2) The Information dimension where today we are just beginning to contextualize information in different customer contexts as we continue to move along the data to information to intelligence continuum.
Movement along each of these dimensions is propelled by two mega trends that impact the professional markets we serve. The first mega trend is the exponential, non-linear growth in information and the second is the shortage of professionals in many of the markets we serve and, as a consequence, their shrinking capacity to absorb growing volumes of information while serving increasing numbers of clients. Taken together, these trends place mounting pressure on professionals to be productive. With little time to pour through large documents, they are looking for information that is highly contextualized. They want “how-to” guidance, decision support, answers and insights that will help them improve outcomes for their clients.
That is their challenge and our opportunity. And as we move towards “EveryWare” along the Computing dimension and towards “Intelligence” along the Information dimension, we can begin to see a swell on the opportunity horizon—a Next Wave I call “Intelligent Content EveryWare”.
As the 2012 Wolters Kluwer Technology Conference progresses over the coming days, I will explain in some more detail what “Intelligent Content EveryWare” is.