For the last 20 years or so, I have watched how organizations have turned to “hi-tech” in order to address a variety of problems or challenges in a rapidly changing, highly turbulent, and competitive environment where they have to operate and succeed. Globalization has opened the doors to new competitors as well as to new markets and lower labor costs. Companies around the world have been engaged in what I call the “Golondrina Factor” which literally means the “Swallow Effect.” They move their plants from country to country in search of the lowest labor cost, most favorable taxation, appropriate infrastructure, and adequate accessibility to ports or airports, but when a company moves, they leave behind high unemployment which can often cause violence and other social problems as a consequence—which is what happened in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Ciudad Juarez, and many other cities around the world.
The rapid pace of change is also triggered by the incredibly fast change in technology. Companies rely heavily on technology in order to increase efficiency, reduce labor costs, improve product quality, allow 24/7 communication with their plants, divisions, or stores around the world, and create “virtual” teams to address problems or tackle opportunities. I have noticed with several clients in the retail and hospitality industries that applied technology has become the key strategy that they rely on in order to compete and succeed in the marketplace. Retail stores and restaurant chains use technology to increase sales and customer loyalty as well as to manage labor costs and deployment, etc. As technology evolves, the life cycle of technology solutions becomes shorter and can make current solutions obsolete even before they are fully implemented which, consequently, creates a constant state of disruption and organizational anxiety.