Technology changing everything, and it's only just begun

From humble home services to rural concerns, digital technology is revolutionising the way even the smallest and most traditional businesses manage their operations.

From humble home services to rural concerns, digital technology is revolutionising the way even the smallest and most traditional businesses manage their operations.

Although only a fraction of companies around the world would consider themselves to be in the technology business, increasingly the great majority of them rely on technology to stay in business.

But John Roberts, Gartner vice-president and chairman of this year's Gartner Symposium, held on the Gold Coast this week, says businesses are still working out how to extract maximum value from technologies, including social media, mobile communications, big data and cloud.

Even chief information officers say only 43 per cent of technology's potential has been deployed in their organisations.

"They think they're not even halfway. They've done the easy part, to date - networks, data centres, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems are in place," Roberts says.

"Through cloud and software as a service, everybody will be able to play in the same space, and they'll have to. It will be the next wave of what used to be called e-business."

Finding a babysitter has traditionally been a low-tech affair but Sydney taxi driver Edward Atra plans to drag the process into the digital era with MySitters. His online marketplace enables families to find and book local sitters using smartphones' geo-location in minutes. The app uses PayPal to avoid the late-night hunt for cash.

Former teachers Michelle Jones and Ron Geritz are transforming their business of growing ornamental trees and shrubs into an operation with international reach.

The pair own Blerick Tree Farm, in Neerim South, Victoria, and run a garden design service. They scored a juicy consultancy gig with a fledgling tree farm in China, courtesy of their "excellent web presence", according to Jones.

Full story: theage.com.au/it-pro

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