The impact of disruptive technologies was brought home to me when I recently attended a couple of sessions at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. I had just read a book by Gideon Haig called The Deserted Newsroom, which describes how the digital age has changed news media. Haig was on the panel of one of the sessions and he provided anecdotes about his experiences in newsrooms and press boxes. It painted a picture of an industry in turmoil unsure of what the future holds; where the news will come from; and who will pay for it. But print news media is only one of a number of industries to be disrupted by technology; companies that were established in film, cameras and phones have all had their worlds turned upside down. The Kodak and Blackberry stories are sobering examples.

There are two sides to the coin of course. Technology can provide a competitive advantage to one company while being the cause of major disruption, and even a disaster, to another. Newspapers used to be rolling in money from classified advertisements then along came Carsales.com and Realestate.com. These, and other similar web sites, tore the rivers of revenue from print media causing them to shed staff they could no longer afford and face the prospect of a very uncertain future. To make matters worse, on-line options meant that we, their readers, reduced or stopped buying, newspapers.

The lesson to be learned is that technology is no longer a way to simply improve business processes or streamline operations. It can be the way to steal a march on the competition by generating a new business model. At Fenwick we are continually watching for new developments that might provide our customers with new opportunities or a business advantage. One of the most rewarding aspects of Fenwick’s business is being able to provide a customer with a system that expands their business and puts the competition on the back foot.

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Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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