by Michael Friedenberg

Power Shift: The Changing CIO Role in Modern Business

Oct 15, 20062 mins

Is your business prepared for the unlimited potential (or extreme threat) of high-speed bandwidth as it achieves massive adoption, leading to a market characterized by a plethora of choices? Signs of the bandwidth upheaval are already appearing. Just look at the music and media industries and I think you’ll start to get an idea of what will happen in all markets as power shifts from the producer to the consumer. If you haven’t given this much thought, I highly recommend Chris Anderson’s latest book, The Long Tail, which explains why the “future of business is selling less of more.” He cites eBay, iTunes, Google and Lego as examples of companies that are successfully selling in a market of multitudes.

As Anderson explains, the world is quickly moving from mass to niche, scarcity to abundance, and transactions to interactions. Your customers now have more choices before them than ever before, and the standard ways of interacting with them have been turned upside down. With the Web causing the traditional physical barriers of entry to disappear (both in respect to inventory and geography), we are now facing the opportunity of a lifetime—if we can seize it.

The historic 80/20 rule no longer applies. You no longer have to have 80 percent of your revenue coming from 20 percent of your customers. In today’s world, you can drive revenue and profit by aggregating niches that were previously impossible to see let alone serve. As Anderson writes, the “invisible market has turned visible.”

If you want to learn more about how almost unlimited bandwidth is transforming the business world, and about other trends that will affect the future role of the CIO, join us at CIO|07, Nov. 5 through 7 at the Wild Horse Pass Resort in Phoenix ( Chris Anderson and other industry luminaries will be sharing their views on what the future holds for us in a world boiling with change. I look forward to seeing you there.