“Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God's gifts. It is the mother of civilisations, of arts and of sciences.”
– Freeman Dyson
Dyson, the renowned physicist and mathematician, made no mistake in proclaiming the importance of technology. In every part of the world, big and small, technology has a pivotal role to play. This is best reflected by the list published by PriceWaterhouse Coopers in March 2014, which ranked Apple, Google and Microsoft as three of the top four largest companies in the world by market capitalisation. Technology now holds a stranglehold on the strategic direction of global organisations, thereby overseeing how it evolves. Just as technology has infiltrated corporations, it has come as no surprise that the array of skills required by new professionals to attain a job in the various divisions within an organisation has also been altered.
An organisation generally consists of several divisions such as marketing and finance. The divisions each play a vital role to ensure that the organisation is sustained in an efficient and effective manner. Increasingly, the success of the divisions requires employees to have a technical aptitude in addition to the basic, established skill-set. For example, marketing and finance employees with a strong theoretical understanding may be superseded by employees who are savvy with social media or can interrogate large data sets.
This need for a strong technological base can be seen through the rise in use and popularity of Facebook in Bangladesh. According to statistics published by the digital marketing firm Webable, the number of Facebook users in Bangladesh currently estimated as 8.4 million. Emerging firms like Lamudi and GradConnect have already been able to garner extensive exposure through Facebook, and well established organisations such as Bikroy and Ekhanei have benefitted due to social advertisements. This method of advertising requires an understanding of not only a strong theoretical base of understanding the market, but also the technical know-how to exploit the opportunities to determine which ad to run, when to run it, and when to boost it.
In the more traditional businesses in Bangladesh, such as manufacturing, one of the key issues is supply chain management. This is a complex issue that deals with product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, as well as the information systems needed to co-ordinate these activities. Efficiency, a combination of procedural speed and fault minimisation, is paramount, and technology has been extremely beneficial in this sector.
Roksana Pervin from the Procurement and Commercial Supply Chain division of Rahimafrooz provided an example in her research article for RFID Arena in April 2013. She explained that RFID tags, small electronic devices that use electromagnetic fields to transfer data to RFID readers, “are attached to the garments during production; they are then traced throughout the whole supply chain. There is no need to remove the tags from the product afterwards”
The ability to track the product creates data, and therefore requires those with the ability to interpret such data, and formulate strategies on that basis. This may not be the skill-set that current supply chain managers have, but with technology encroaching on all aspects of the supply chain, it will be necessary in the future.
The finance departments are no different. Financial statement analysis, which was once undertaken by the accounts team can now be generated in a matter of moments by software, such as MicroStrategy Analytics and ExpressAccounts. Accountants are now required to be able to navigate the software rather than derive the ratios and profit margins themselves. Samsul Haque, Accounts Manager at Lamudi noted, “It is vital to learn accounting and financial analysis software because at this moment, most organisations, major ones and startups, rely completely on them for accurate and fast financial tables and results.”
While technology has supported efficiency it has also helped to reduce waste for organizations, and to have an environmental impact. Grameenphone, one of Bangladesh's largest organisations has recently adopted such a method by creating a work environment completely reliant on electronic exchange of information, instead of paper. This not only ensures that less paper is wasted and thus less environmental degradation, but also helps to create a work environment that emphasises the importance of having the ability to use technology.
Technology has enveloped the modern organisation and in doing so it has changed the nature of how organisations do business. The ramification is that people within the organisation have to evolve, and on the subject of evolution the words of Charles Darwin's are as relevant as ever, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”.
This article was prepared by Naiian Yazdani, an MBA candidate at the University of Oxford and the Director of GradInsights, the career intelligence service of GradConnect, and Ishaqur Rahman, an Associate, Content & Analytics at GradInsights. Please visit www.grad-insights.com for more articles.