Significant in the Times story is the following quote:
the recent increases in corporate efficiency appear to have created a long-term change in the level of economic growth needed for an improving job market.
The times is burying a huge story in this line. How did those increases in corporate efficiency happen?
It is my contention that they happened largely due to the fact that a lot of the technology investments made in the 90s as result of the dotcom boom are starting to pay off. Whereas, in the past, memos were sent in paper form, and people had to talk to a lot more people to get access to simple bits of information, the introduction of intranet tools and email in the corporate world have helped workers become more efficient by cutting a large amount of unnecessary steps in the process of getting information. Whereas in the past, one had to spend hours on the phone to get even the most basic information about a product, nowadays people just hit the vendor’s site and get the information they need on their own timeline. This improvement in the information gathering and dissemination (largely through a self-service ethos which allows your employees to do more important work than just shuffling marketing sheets) is just the beginning.
With the advent of corporate weblogs, we will see communications between prospects continue to improve, as the new tools facilitate a discussion between corporations and prospects. This is an important trend that no one in the mainstream media is following and may just be what the “New Economy” is about. It’s not about a new way of selling dog food (or whatever other bad idea received billions of dollars) but it is about removing repetitive tasks in information dissemination and sharing and increasing self service, which greatly improves all business process.