Technology is a crazy thing. 

Think back to days gone by where the internet, smartphones and social media didn’t exist.

I can remember my at-the-time fiancé desperately trying to get ahold of me while I was out on the golf course covering a tournament for the newspaper. She did it by paging me.

I also vividly remember the first time the local bank (which bore my hometown’s name — and still does — not some corporate conglomerate) issued an ATM card. We were blown away by this new-fangled technology. No longer did I have to go into the bank and fill out a withdrawal slip if I needed a couple twenties. 

Look where we are today. Technology consumes our lives, both good and bad. At the recent KBIS-IBS blowout in Las Vegas, an employee from one of the booths we stopped at told the horror story of losing his ID and cellphone while in town, and how a scofflaw promptly helped themselves to some quickly available funds in one the apps on the phone. 

The latest nuttiness is telemarketers now calling cellphones. I don’t know how many events I’ve been to over the last year where someone has brought up this topic. I love the one with the robot voice that says they are with the IRS and you are in big trouble if you do not call the number they provide. I haven’t heard any knocks on the front door yet.

How crazy are unwanted electronic interludes? According to a one recent study spam accounts for 45% of all emails sent, and about 14.5 billion spam emails are sent each day, while 36% of all spam is some form of advertising. I find this nugget particularly interesting: Spammers receive one reply for every 12.5 million emails sent. Two other research studies show spam costs businesses $20.5 billion annually (lost productivity and technical expenses), which breaks down to around $1,934 per employee. 

But, of course, if technology is used correctly, it can do wonders in both your personal and professional lives.

To wit, I encourage you to read the second part of my annual ASA-Supply House Times distributor roundtable interview that was conducted last fall in Washington, D.C., during ASA”s 50th anniversary gala. Some very interesting technology-related talk is contained in that piece, as well as some candid comments about dealing with the possibility of an economic downturn. I also can’t believe this interview is celebrating 10 years. It’s one of my absolute favorite projects to work on.

I invite you to check out two other features in this month’s issue that drive home the importance of the overly critical component of meeting the customers’ needs in a constantly changing business and technology environment.

Page 20 has my annual look at trends in the master distribution space. Not surprisingly, consolidation is a big topic of discussion, as is the importance the master distributor plays in today’s the supply chain and how imperative it is to be over the top when it comes to customer service.

And in our columnist section on Page 44, you will find a guest editorial from Senthil Gunasekaran, who writes about the importance of having the right data at your fingertips so your sales team can sell more stuff. Gunasekaran shares research that shows most organizations struggle to marry data with their sales efforts. Consulting firm McKinsey, he notes, calls analytics “still a bit of a sideshow when it comes to sales.”

The bottom line in all this is technology is not going anywhere, and the constant tech torrent will continue. And I don’t have to tell you those companies that continue to embrace these changes will be the ones cashing the fat checks.

But they likely will do so from their iPads or smartphones.