Changing Trends in Doing Business

Nobody can argue that the current technological revolution didn’t bring massive changes to their lives, either business and personal. Communication and information processing have become virtually instant, and utterly global. Great swathes of data can be processed, analysed and disseminated in the blink of an eye. There is a continuing trend for automation, removing time wasting repetitive tasks, freeing up workers for more valuable tasks, or removing the need for workers at all.


Technology has been a leveler; the information and news that was controlled by governments and large corporations was suddenly available to all – free to pass on, or build upon, and deliver instantly, if you have the know-how and capability. Our image of an industry leader moved from a fat cat in a bowler hat overseeing his army of workers, to nerdy guys writing code in their garages and setting up trendy feel-good office spaces. The dot com boom and bust did work against the nerds in garages, but the trendy office spaces and Silicon Valley (the mother of all technology parks) are still prevalent sources of innovation and new businesses.


The technological revolution has made it possible to run a business from anywhere at any time, and some entrepreneurs take full advantage of this – working from beaches and hotels, and outsourcing administration to home-based workers. But not all businesses can, or want to, function without a central workspace. An additional effect of the dot com bubble is that investors and customers are wary of businesses without a geographical address. However, that address doesn’t necessarily need to be local.

Businesses, even shops, exist that display their wares, find their customers, and process their orders completely online. Shops no longer need high street storefront; meeting rooms can be hired in central locations, or performed virtually online, so that offices can be located in backwater rural estates.

There is, however, still a certain level of prestige to be found in having offices located inside a major city center; if nothing else, it shows that a business is doing well enough to afford it. Industrial manufacturing still tends to be located on the outskirts of towns for purely practical reasons:  a workforce is needed, and so is a larger floor space. Furthermore, a transport infrastructure remains vital for materials and processed goods. Aside from those two, what reason would a company have to look for the old school “location, location, location”?


The UK business economy is moving ever deeper into an information economy, where knowledge and expertise are high value assets. Nano- and microbiological science technology are outgrowing heavy industry, and the skill sets and marketing methods are changing with them. Alongside information technology, manufacturing technology is also evolving.

Science parks, such as Harwell Oxford, are becoming highly regarded business centers, not just the safe havens of boffins in white coats. Cutting edge technologies and R&D focused ventures benefit from the specialized equipment available to them. At the same time, there is the additional image and marketing bonus companies also gain by being associated with the movers and shakers of science and technology.

Rachel is a business blogger with a background in communications.

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