On December 9, 2008, I participated, as a panelist, in a program for information-technology corporate leaders and government officials from Wuhan, China, plus people from Silicon Valley. The panel discussed opportunities and challenges related to information technology. This “2008 China-US IT Forum” Silicon Valley event was held in Santa Clara, California, and sponsored by the Wuhan Service Outsourcing Association and the East Lake (Wuhan) High Technology Development Zone.
Henry Chen moderated the panel discussion. Other panelists included Mark Cummings (Managing Partner, EnVia Technology Partners, Inc), Yun-Ping Hsu (Vice President, Engineering, SugarCRM), Ned Isokawa (Attorney at Law, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP), and Fudong Zhang (Deputy Director, Investment Promotion Bureau, Administrative Committee of Wuhan East Lake Hi-tech Development Zone).
As part of my remarks, I presented a hierarchy of work needed to advance societal, individual, enterprise, or government success; indicated to what extent today’s information technology and knowledge services provide support; and suggested opportunities and challenges For example, for levels in the hierarchy for which technology provides significant support, suppliers tend to emphasize increasing capabilities and speeds; customers tend to emphasize needs for “more well integrated, easier to use, and more secure services and procucts;” and, when there is a significant gap between the two emphases, discussion tends overly to focus on price. Or, developers and suppliers have significant opportunities to provide technologies supporting more-“what we really need to accomplish” activities, which lie closer in the hierarchy to “societal, individual, …, and governmental outcomes” and for which there is little technological support today. (The hierarchy is an application of my Direct Outcomes systems-thinking tools.)
People discussed the current economy. I remarked that, to the extent truly useful new technology is brought to market, enterprises, governments, and individuals will acquire it. Yun-Ping Hsu echoed this concept.
Mark Cummings mentioned that he observed a change in Wuhan information-technology. Enterprises now develop products and services to meet local needs. I followed by noting that, to the extent enterprises recognize that an essence of information-technology is “repetition” and to the extent they rebuild such products to be first instances of applications of more-general platforms, there should be great opportunity to take various instances into many marketplaces.
I would like to thank Henry Chen for organizing the event and for inviting me to participate. Also, Henry invited and took time to meet with my colleague Patrick Berbon (SSV Network and Due Diligence Group). And, it was great to reconnect with and talk with keynote speaker Pat Dando (President & CEO, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce).
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