„Companies are in the midst of a revolutionary transformation. Industrial age competition is shifting to information age competition. During the industrial age, from 1850 to about 1975, companies succeeded by how well they could capture the benefits from economies of scale and scope. Technology mattered, but, ultimately, success accrued to companies that could embed the new technology into physical assets that offered efficient, mass production of standard products.
During the industrial age, financial control systems were developed in companies, such as General Motors, DuPont, Matsushita, and General Electric, to facilitate and monitor efficient allocations of financial and physical capital. A summary financial measure such as return-on-capital employed (ROCE) could both direct a company’s internal capital to its most productive use and monitor the efficiency by which operating divisions used financial and physical capital to create value for shareholders.
The emergence of the information era, however, in the last decades of the twentieth century, made obsolete many of the fundamental assumptions of industrial age competition. No longer could companies gain sustainable competitive advantage by merely deploying new technology into physical assets rapidly, and by excellent management of financial assets and liabilities.“
— Robert S. Kaplan American accounting academic 1940
The Balanced Scorecard, 1996, p. 2-3