Article

Robert Trnovec
Robert Trnovec 1 December 2015
Categories Technology

Don't Be Blindsided By Change

The only way to move forward is by understanding disruptive technologies that change the way we interact as consumers.

It seems that there has never been a more exciting and a more dangerous time to be a business. Traditionally, companies were under the pressure to cut costs and increase profits. They could either improve their operations, move some of their business to another county with lower labor costs, focus on their supply chain or do other operational or transactional things.



Now companies are under a much more serious threat of disruption. It is happening in many industries and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see all the different threats to existing businesses that mainly come from companies that are either completely or at least mainly digital. For example, FedEx and other courier delivery services are coming under pressure from Amazon and even Google and Uber. These digital companies are slowly but surely expanding their reach and their only goal is to serve their customers better.

Another example are new mobile payment technologies that are threatening banks and their business. Banks in general have been slow to respond to the digital revolution and are coming under fire from mobile device providers, who are more eager to create services their customers will love.

But these threats are also clear signals of how digital technology can be used to create more value for customers and win in the marketplace. What companies need to do is be far more proactive in becoming digital and looking at opportunities. Today, technology touches everything and the only way to move forward is by understanding disruptive technologies change the way we shop, interact, and behave as consumers.

So that is the first step on the journey – look at disruptive technologies and pinpoint how exactly they may impact your business.

The second step is to locate opportunities for digital transformation. That means looking at everything – the production processes, supply chains, marketing and sales. This is because customer value is created throughout the company and all processes, not just in the final interaction. For example, it used to be that banks’ competitive advantage was their IT system. You had to be a large bank to spend hundreds of thousands of euros to build and maintain a reliable data center to serve your customers. With a cloud-based service, almost any start-up can deliver the 24/7 services that their customers want, which makes banks more vulnerable than ever to disruption.

The last step is to activate your business to look at the opportunities and find the best solutions. At Microsoft, we encourage our customers to look to their employees to find solutions. Don’t just stay focused on the leadership and management. A shift to a digital-first mindset puts all employees at the forefront of digital innovation. While IT should be integral to the process, it is other business units—like marketing, sales, and operations—that are increasingly leading the digital transformation.

Every company needs to start looking at their competitive landscape, which is wider than at any time in the history. While competition tended to be static it is now much more dynamic – as I’ve mentioned above, some competitors are currently not even operating in the same industry. This is why it is so important to try and anticipate the disruption and not let yourself be blindsided by the seismic changes that are taking place in the realm of digital transformation.

 

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