• Business and Our Digital World

    March 1, 2012
    Each fall, my publisher, John Ehlen, and I ponder over the subjects we ought to cover in our thematic March issue. That's when we devote the entire publication

    Each fall, my publisher, John Ehlen, and I ponder over the subjects we ought to cover in our thematic March issue. That's when we devote the entire publication to one topic we feel is both timely and important to our readers.

    As we prepared for our January issue on forecasting (in October), Joe Pulizzi's excellent article about social media turned a firecracker thought into an idea explosion. Why not cover the Internet and digital technology? These subjects permeate our lives every day. No matter how much we complain about the influence of digital technology, for many people, living without it is akin to suffering withdrawal symptoms.

    I believe we've hit the mark on a variety of topics that will help you become more digitally and Internet savvy and prod you into what every editor hopes for: taking a moment to think more deeply or broadly about what constitutes the digital realm of your business. I am convinced that every businessperson needs a moment, which we hope this magazine provides, that will broaden the proverbial horizon regarding what we do. We simply hope that our topics are a firm starting point.

    For starters, I reached out to the IT community and came up with predictions from experts across the country. I explained the makeup of my audience and asked for their prediction going out five years. While some predictions were predictable, I found some fascinating. You must ask yourself, if they are correct, are you on the train for the ride?

    I then turned to my “in-house” apps experts Glenn Smith. Glenn, along with his son, Chris, create custom apps. There are countless free and low-cost apps, but the reality is that if you want one with muscle, you have to pay for it. One of the largest telecommunications companies in the country is a client of theirs, and they are particularly astute at helping companies decide IF they need a customized app and then helping them determine precisely what are the requirements that they should be seeking.

    Joe Pulizzi returns to our pages with an article about Google, the 500-pound search engine gorilla. You might be in the distribution business, but I bet you Google frequently whenever you're in front of a computer or a handheld device. It's a modern-day reality that no one can deny: Google has an impact on us all.

    We're also back to the cloud. Can't escape it, apparently. Nationally syndicated computer columnist Reid Goldsborough tackles the issue in the manner for which he is best known: clear, direct and compelling language.

    Another important topic is software. Every distributor has some type of software to operate the warehousing and logistics side of their business. I turned to our “in-house” expert, Bryan Jensen, and Alan Reigart, both of the highly regarded St. Onge Co., who turned in a gem. If the simple issue of when or why to upgrade can be so difficult for a single person on a personal computer, how much more challenging and threatening is it for a business that might have tens (even hundreds) of thousands of SKUs? When I ponder over who might have the answer, the lads at St. Onge Co. were the obvious choice.

    Lastly, we provide another informative column by HARDI's director of government affairs, John Melchi. He raises the issue of education and acknowledges what many don't say publicly. Not everyone should go to a four-year liberal arts college. Melchi points out that there are other options, and a career in HVACR is just one of them. Regardless of what this generation of students study, they will live in a world framed by digital technology and the Internet far more than we have.

    HVACR Distribution Business welcomes letters to the editor. Please send correspondence to: Tom Peric´, Editor 2040 Fairfax Avenue Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 856/874-0049 or email [email protected].