The Time to Think About the Future Is Now

By Scott Ferguson  |  Print this article Print


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Technology guru Daniel Burrus tells VARs to think about problems and solve them before they arrive.

When Daniel Burrus thinks about the future, he does not contemplate current problems and conventional solutions.

Instead, Burrus looks for problems that have not arrived and tries to solve those dilemmas with technology and innovations that may only be in their infancy.

Thinking about unconventional problems and solutions, Burrus said at the CompTIA Breakaway Conference in Orlando, Fla., is the only way businesses can survive in a world that continues to change.

"For one hour a week, I want you to unplug from the present and plug into the future—your future—and look and see what problems will come," said Burrus, a noted technology forecaster and author of the book "Trechnotrends," as he addressed the audience of about 500 people.

"The opportunity is before you. You have to go beyond where we are."

Burrus' address, "Shaping the Future: Growth Strategies for Uncertain Times," was the opening keynote address at the CompTIA convention on Aug. 2.

During the 30-minute talk, Burrus urged the audience of VARs, distributors and solution providers to think about "hard trends" when anticipating the future.

By following hard trends, such as shifts in demographic numbers and the implementation of government regulations, businesses can use these concrete numbers to think critical about what will happen five or 10 years down the road.

One example Burrus used to underscore his theory was e-mail.

When government regulations deemed e-mail a legal document, storage of millions of pieces of e-mail became critical.

Those companies that could provide it were able to cash in on a fundamental shift in government policy.

During his talk, Burrus suggested that the government will eventually require companies to retain instant and text messages as legal documents as well.

Those companies positioned to store this data are already ahead of the curve.

Burrus not only see future gains in storage, but in other areas such as bandwidth and Internet Protocol Television, which allows digital television to be delivered through a network infrastructure, which will take on and change the face of cable television and the big networks.

Burrus also reminded that audience that technology by itself is not a solution to problems.

It's how the technology is utilized and applied that solves those future problems and provides a business opportunity.

Burrus' talk resonated with people such as Sean Boodoo, executive vice president of TechDefender, a managed securities services provider in Burnsville, Minn.

"I think it was very interesting what he was saying about always living in the future and the significance of thinking about problems that have not arrived," Boodoo said.

"I think that in our business, we need to look forward and anticipate what's to come, instead of looking in the past."

Instead of putting out fires on a day-to-day basis, Burrus told the audience, businesses should spend time on thinking and anticipating what is to come, whether it's a week from now or five years down the road.

It's also about building relationship and trust with customers and users.

"You will spend the rest of your life in the future," Burrus said.

"What I am certain about and what I do know is that future relationships are built on trust and you have to earn that trust. It's about trust and to be able to deliver on promises and never teach people to distrust you. The future is about relationships."

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