The world has re-shaped itself in the last 15-20 years. On a recent trip to my homeland I had a conversation with a 90-year-old uncle who told me that there is not a single thing that he now has in common with any of his grandchildren, which range in ages from 11 to 25 years old. He pointed out that in the last 25 years almost every single human habit had changed dramatically from hygiene to education as technology now shapes how we do things in our every day lives.
It made me think that the same applies to business.
Some of the sectors that have dramatically changed and influence the way that we do things today, to name a few, are:
- Communications – mobile devices
- Travelling industry – Tripadvisor and airline aggregators
- Hospitality industry – Airbnb and hotel aggregators
- News – Twitter
- Photo Industry – Instagram
- Books – Amazon, ibooks
- Music – Spotify, iTunes
- Movies – Netflix, Apple TV
- Traffic and Commuting – Google Maps
- Coupons for discounts and services – Groupon
- Digital Market Places – eBay, Etsy
- Headhunting – LinkedIn
To that, we need to talk about new ways to communicate that didn’t exist before and that we now call Social Networks. One thing that is clear, is that we need to be able to adapt to rapid change, everything is constantly transforming. Technology has created it’s own digital economy that is bridging gaps between big and small companies as well as local vs global companies.
In this digital economy, companies need to:
- Be extremely flexible and quick to adapt
- Be well informed in digital topics
- Think global
- Be transparent
- Be able to bring technology to the core of their activities in order to grow their business and drive change
- Be ready to leverage their employees as influencers, especially the younger ones that are more comfortable with new technologies
Where Are We Heading?
We are living in a constantly changing environment with global citizens, interconnected networks, connected devices, short attention spans and information at your fingertips.
We are sharing more information every day, which means that we are sacrificing privacy. Thanks to social networks where we share personal and professional information constantly, we are all easily identifiable and everything that happens within an organization can become a liability, therefore the need to be smart and transparent.
According to one of the latest reports there are officially more mobile devices than people in the world. The world is home to 7.2 billion gadgets, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are. (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/there-are-officially-more-mobile-devices-than-people-in-the-world-9780518.html)
Businesses that started in the last 15 years thinking about adapting their business models to internet and computers, today, need to worry about mobile phones and social networks, computers are a thing of the past. For example, in March of 2017, Groupon completed 63% of its transactions on mobile devices, up from 60% on December of 2016. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/272262/groupon-mobile-sales-share/)
Wearable technology is here to stay. This technology is still in its infancy with 50% of it’s users giving their item up within 3-6 months, but it is becoming less intrusive, more fashionable and easier to use. We also see more advances in virtual reality with more commercial applications daily.
Big Data is bringing great opportunity for innovation, paired with million of devices that produce very big data streams. As these wearable devices collect massive amounts of data we are able to aggregate this data and use it to provide a solution. For example Google Traffic uses data from our phones, local traffic data, and from people using Google maps to get estimated times of arrival and then signal the fastest routes.
In this changing environment does my company have a chance? Yes, but in order to succeed you must:
Focus on what you are best at. Think global. Be flexible and transparent. Put technology at the core of your business operations. Foster a company culture that embraces entrepreneurship and change and obsess about a superb customer experience.