In 2006, Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat portrayed a global population that was more borderless and interconnected than ever before.

By Aaron Levie Co-founder and chief executive, Box

Entire industries are being remade thanks to ever-better connectivity, writes Aaron Levie

Starting in the 1980s and 1990s – with the rise of Netscape, global supply chains, outsourcing and off-shoring – came a dramatic flattening of how we connect and communicate across the world. Since Friedman’s book, we’ve moved even further into the future, with nearly six billion connected mobile devices and two billion people on the internet. Together, these shifts have created a much tighter world economy – an interconnectedness that’s been painful at times given the financial crisis, but with benefits that are also striking. Just pull out an iPhone to appreciate the sophistication of today’s supply chains.

Or look at the near-ubiquitous adoption of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, and other global internet phenomena – transformative technologies that haven’t just bolstered our social lives, but have also catalysed civil wars, toppled political regimes, and helped elect new leaders. And we’re only now starting to see these forces of disruption and levelling at work in the software that powers our businesses.

New wave

Today organisations can tap into scalable, on-demand cloud-computing resources from Amazon Web Services and Google. They can adopt social technologies like Yammer, Jive and Salesforce Chatter to connect globally dispersed employees, and they can implement content storage and sharing services like Box to make it easy for employees to work from anywhere, on any device. This new wave of cloud services is challenging long-standing assumptions about how information should and can be shared, and how organisations should be structured.

Most traditional enterprise technologies were designed to lock information down, confining it to a team, a network, or a physical environment. This silo-ing of information – whether intentional or unavoidable, thanks to rigid infrastructure – has had cultural implications as well, creating and perpetuating silos and hierarchies within and between organisations. Read more…

Aaron Levie is the chief executive and co-founder of Box, a cloud-based online storage company based in San Francisco.

As published in www.bbc.co.uk on June 29, 2012.


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