Internet Now Being Groomed for Business

February 26, 2009

By Ed Dugas.

Between the 15th Century invention of the printing press and the personal computer revolution of the 1990s, we were, for the most part, a print culture. Crusades, expeditions, missions, art and even wars circulated information throughout the known world. The written word was our primary concrete resource for preserving knowledge.

And then the internet arrived, creating a digital culture and spurning an information age that history will probably view as a second Renaissance. The Web has spread more information in the last 15 years than the previous 500 years combined. Communication is now faster and more sophisticated. Its powerful exponential growth and affect on the world is staggering.

The great thing about using the internet for business is that, unlike print materials, it never decays or expires. It has become the ultimate place to accelerate the flow of relevant information and the fastest growing form of media. A conversation can be lost, a newspaper discarded or forgotten, but when it takes place online its record is everlasting.

For better or worse, the Web is a complete record that will be around forever. Digital simply can’t die.

But the internet has reached its critical mass. Its growth has been largely horizontal and is akin to having the entire world’s content filed under one desktop folder. It is essentially wild and untamed, unregulated and unorganized. This is sufficient for its frivolous and novel uses, but not so ideal for business pursuits.

Fortunately, the internet is starting to become more formulaic. Like a city that has reached its land borders, people using it for business now understand that vertical growth, urbanizing the internet into highly specialized and efficient virtual skyscrapers, is key to maximizing it as a business environment.

You can’t have everything on your computer in one folder, unnamed, or you’d go crazy! It has to be categorized by special interests to remain relevant.

As a result of mass usership, the internet is more simplified, consolidated and accessible than ever before. But it still intimidates and scares people to the point that they avoid it altogether. Users of computers and technology have long been stereotyped as “techies” who need to have some kind of advanced and specialized knowledge to take full advantage of what the internet has to offer.

This unfortunate and restricting myth must be dispelled.

It is important to engage this indispensable medium and give it a real chance to work for you. It really isn’t as daunting a place as it may seem, and the best way to learn this new and necessary language is through immersion. Most business resources, including networks and groups, make it really easy to use their sites and learning the ins and outs will only take a few hours, at most. Plus you have the support of a community that is willing to help you through the process. Here are a few places to get you started on your journey (of course, many of you are already well versed, so thanks for your patience).

Additionally, here’s an example of a leading company in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry that is always looking to the internet for its business potential:

I recently sat down with Denis Catroun and Aiko Uda of Vancouver-based industry consulting firm, GlobalWest Hospitality Solutions, which specializes in cross-cultural hospitality solutions and corporate training.

GlobalWest is a flagship example of how to use technological foresight not only to improve company operations, but also to further enrich their client’s experience.

“We had people from Prince George who needed (Foodsafe Certification) because they were opening a restaurant, but it wasn’t being offered for months so they needed to fly to Vancouver for the classes,” quipped Mr. Catroun, senior partner and hospitality consultant. He also says that about half of his students showed a reluctance to networking, which would probably be improved by offering a specialized community forum.

Transferring services which could only before be offered in person to the convenience of an online environment will save time, money, resources and enhance learning. It is also a great way to stay in touch with consultants and classmates for the purpose of networking and making further connections in the business world.

“We want to develop virtual classrooms, and we’re always trying to put more of our services online,” says Aiko Uda, Superhost and Corporate Trainer who specializes in Japanese culture.

So fear not, friends. Take advantage of this evolving and exciting world that represents our vision of the future. You’ll be surprised at how much it will change and improve your business.


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