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For example, recent innovations in knowledge management systems software has been praised because it enables users to do more than search for information and store and provide access data. Knowledge management software is a tool of empowerment because it allows users "to create and share expert profiles and submit questions to be answered by the pros. Knowledge management systems have to be continually updated. Expertise management software is inherently dynamic, and it puts the burden on the software -- not the user -- to sort through information and determine its value, and its author's merit as an expert. And because most expertise management systems point to content rather than store it, it requirements are minimal" and more cost-efficient (Kaplan- Leiserson, 2008, p.1). To deploy the value of such a new type of software, however, a manger must not simply say to him or herself: 'a less costly and more interactive form of software is required,' he or she must be able to keep abreast of industry trends and put them into action (Kaplan- Leiserson 2008).
Managers must understand technology's potential and how employees will interface with that technology. Technological flexibility and change must be integrated into the modern organization's infrastructure, marketing, and staff. Organizations that fail to understand this, fail to thrive, even organizations with great strengths. Even Microsoft, the technology behemoth, is finding itself falling behind in the new, global environment in terms of fusing technology with people savvy. In an effort to compete with Google and Apple, "much of Microsoft's new spending will go for research and development to further improve its Web search engine and advertising technology. Microsoft will boost its marketing efforts to draw users to its Net offerings. And it will plow more money into expensive infrastructure technology to offer ever more services online" (Greene 2008). Microsoft's difficulties in effectively adapting to the challenges of the modern commercial environment by relating to younger users, as Apple has done with marketing its iPod, or by fostering a corporate culture that is innovative like rival and search engine megastar Google shows the advantages newer organizations sometimes enjoy in the modern environment. Microsoft illustrates no matter how dominant a company may be, it still must respond to changes in the market environment. Knowing how human beings think and know technology functions in relation to human beings is not seen as separate capacities by forward-thinking companies, rather using technology in a human fashion is part of the newest and most successful organizations such as Google. 'Camp Google's fun workplace environment that keeps employees at the organization through its palatial offerings of gyms, gourmet cafeterias, and team-building activities keeps its employees in a constant state of virtual and real world connectivity to the company mission -- and productivity.
Companies that have failed to innovate, or worse, have seen their goods and services left in the dust because of technology include those institutions as well respected as the New York Times. As people can access the Times on their computer screen, with some exceptions, combined with decreased news readership in general, fewer and fewer individuals are willing to pay for news service. Valuations of the company have fallen to unprecedented levels "Wall Street is saying there is no future to a lot of media companies" (Yarrow & Fine 2008). Or at least media companies that do not capitalize upon new technology in an innovative fashion and give the customer of tomorrow what he or she wants. Communication and technology are fused in the current era -- relating to others, relating to consumers, understanding effective methods of communication in the digital age, all require knowledge of the capacity of technology, particularly when communicating to a global audience. It is estimated that "the impact on technology will cause newly developed wireless devices to become the primary communication, content and application access devices globally by the year 2018" and that from books to news to music, more and more people will be using the web ("Wireless social networking revolutionizes the global technology business," Telecomworldwire, 2008). For a manager to have good interpersonal skills face-to-face will only address a small part of his or job supervising, leading, and motivating others in this new tomorrow, although for an it professional to fail to understand what functions users desire in social and entertainment networking technology is equally disastrous.
The examples of Microsoft and the New York Times both show that whether a company is technological or nature or not, failing to make change and innovation a focus of the company's approach to technology from the very beginning is perilous. Did people await Vista with the same excitement as the new iPhone? Will people buy newspapers at all ten years from now? These are questions that modern organizations must answer, and managers can play a critical role in reformulating an organization's approach to how and what goods and services it provides. It has been suggested that it is time to redefine the critical roles of management, to what has been called the "four functions of coaching," which are counseling, mentoring, tutoring and confronting (Buhler, 1998, p.6). "With the counseling function managers help their employees learn more about themselves and their feelings. Managers as mentors help employees become more proactive. As tutors, managers help employees develop technical skills. And the confronting function enables employees to improve their performance through a better understanding of what is expected of them" (Buhler, 1998, p.6). While human skills are integral to counseling and mentoring employees, technological savvy is required to fulfill the secondary parts of these roles -- developing the right technological skills to take the organization and the employee's career into the next decade. Managers must understand how employees can improve their performance, how employees and customers use technology, and how the impact of technology is likely to change the way human beings relate to one another in the future across the globe.
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