Two words we probably never expected to be used in tandem – digital and disruption – have now become something of a trend. Much more than a new catch phrase though, ‘digital disruption’ can actually be quite alarming when fully comprehended as a market risk.
Just as our way of life will never be the same – since the advent of computers and smart phones – every business on our planet will eventually experience the effects of digital disruption. If not altogether obstructed by the onslaught of this new doctrine of technology, your operations will certainly be affected.
It’s time to get out in front of this revolution, before you find yourself (and the company whose future you are responsible for) way out of the running.
What’s All the Fuss About?
The power of digital disruption can be narrowed down into three categories. First, there are digital tools (mostly free) which speed up the process of adding new services and products. Secondly, the digital platforms prevalent in our world today cannot only be utilised by your competitors – they can be exploited by them. Third, a massive group of digital consumers has evolved, with an almost insatiable taste for ‘innovative everything.’ Collectively, these factors have taken innovation to a whole new level.
Why is digital disruption happening so fast? It’s mostly attributable to the World Wide Web. After all, everyone with something to sell can now afford to advertise (online), entrepreneurs have instant access to capital through crowdfunding, and ideas can go from your brain to market in the flash of an eye.
There’s literally 100 times the idea power as there used to be – pretty impressive, right? Well, it’s also quite intimidating if you aren’t willing (or skilled enough) to jump into the fray and become a part of it all.
Where Do You Stand?
Think about your company’s current position in the market. Are your services and products cutting edge and innovative, or are you enjoying the ride with the same customer base established back when you first came on the scene? Or maybe you’re just hanging at the back of the pack, nibbling at the now-plentiful leftovers of a huge industry you thought would last as long as the human race?
If your answer is the cutting edge, good on you – it’s a great place to be. However, if that edge is just your intention or opinion (rather than a well-strategised reality) then it’s time to rethink your game plan. Likewise, if you’re busy resting on your laurels, realise the lightning bolt could be right around the bend. Honestly, the new business ideas UK endorses every single day are running rampant, and you don’t want to be left in the dust.
Are You Ready to Change?
What does innovation really look like, at your company? Merely having software that gets great online reviews, the highest speed of broadband your provider offers, and an IT guy on-call when you need him – is nowhere close to doing your future justice. Not anymore. Prepare to be disorganised for awhile, both in your physical office environment and in your company’s mindset. You’re going to need to upgrade and update, and make critical changes that will not just bring the business ‘up to par’ but also refocus it toward a secure future.
If your firm doesn’t currently have its own Chief Information Officer (CIO), consider hiring one. Thirty years ago that position was all about storage and transmittal of your data, but now this person is considered to be a major player when structuring a company’s strategic goals. At minimum you’ll need an IT specialist or consultant – someone who can quickly get a good handle on what’s already in place and where you need to go from there.
Can You Stop Digital Disruption?
Well, you can’t literally bring it to a standstill. It’s going to happen, with your help or without it. You remember that old saying: If you can’t beat them, join them? That idiom certainly applies in this case. Either you become a disruptor, or fall victim to being disrupted. It makes sense when you think about it.
Remember the 3 categories we mentioned – digital tools, platforms and consumers? You need to bring them all into play in your marketing now. Merely offering low cost products and incremental improvements isn’t enough. If your customer becomes a member on your website’s platform, you now have their contact details and they can access your specials, shopping cart, and get help when they need it.
Today more than ever, you should concentrate on ‘being one’ with the consumer. Find out what else they are looking for, beyond what’s sitting on your own shelf. Are you able to provide them with these peripheral products or services? Focus on filling needs and desires – not making money – and the future will find you.