Punctuated Equilibrium in Business Technology, Prompted by Pandemic

punctuated evolution

I wonder if our recovery from this pandemic and its economic fallout might take the form of a series of massive jumps.

Think about a medium-sized business that’s been around for 30 years, and all the different tech systems they use. They’re still using HR systems, payroll systems, and lots of other infrastructure that’s relatively outdated compared to what’s available today.

Punctuated Equilibrium is where species jump ahead suddenly.

They knew about these new technologies, and they told themselves that they would have loved to deploy them if they were starting over, but there’s just too much momentum in that ancient system they’ve been using forever.

Well, this might be that chance to start over.

Many businesses will close forever, but I think many more will basically condense into a tiny form of themselves, with maybe 50%, 25%, or 10% of what they used to have. But then they’ll rebuild relatively quickly.

  • And maybe when they do that re-expansion, they’ll do it in a new building.

  • Maybe they’ll use a bare-bones, all-in-one, tech-based HR solution instead of the legacy stuff they were using before.

  • Maybe they’ll do fin-tech banking instead of their local credit union that their grandfather started with.

It seems like there are myriad examples of this for businesses of all types.

It’s like a large forest fire set off by a lightning strike. And where the green that shows up afterward comes quickly, and with a sense of purpose.

I bet there’s a whole field of expertise around this, and I’d like to read a couple of books written by experts in such a field. It seems to be some combination of history, economics, and business.

If you have any ideas on how this might manifest, let me know.

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