If we don’t create the thing that kills us, someone else will
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When we talk about digital disruption, the business leaders out there will be split into two camps … Or let’s make that three camps.
The first are those who believe that they are sheltered and are confident that their industry or at least their businesses will not be disrupted.
The second are those who believe that they are in danger and therefore are urging their teams to urgently review, rethink and restrategise on how they can digitalise their business processes to remain ahead in the game.
The third are those who are neither here nor there. They have not come to a conclusion yet either because they are not fully aware of what digital disruption is all about, or they are still in a state of uncertainty – uncertain if this digital disruption is something they should be concern about.
So if you fall in the third category, please continue reading this article.
What is digital disruption in the first place?
Lets not talk about definitions but instead, use real examples of digital disruptions to give a clear idea of what it is:
- In the Banking Industry: Simple, an online banking app, disrupted the big-cap banks without opening a single physical branch.
- In the Financial Advisory Sector: A DIY investment tool from Acorns shook up the financial-advisory business.
- In the Media Industry: Snapchat got a jump on mainstream media by distributing content on a platform-as-a-service instrastructure.
- In the Healthcare Industry: The concept of consult a doctor anytime from anywhere right from your mobile phones are making clinics rethink their strategies.
- In the Education Industry: The concept of learning from a teacher without being restricted by physical boundaries are making education/tuition centres run for their money, if not, eventually make them obsolete.
- In the Retail Industry: Big giants like Matahari Mall of Indonesia are forced to review their business model and jump into the online world because it gets displaced by players like Lazada, Bukalapak and its other e-commerce gang.
The list goes on. I think by now, you would have gotten a good idea of what digital disruption is.
Now the key think is this: We should not be in a state where we do not even know there is a ‘shark’ lurking underwater, waiting for the right moment of attack. Business leaders should be updated and well-informed to at least see the ‘shark fin’ jutting out of the water coming towards them.
Shark lurking — the next key question is, will you be attacked?
Customers today are greatly empowered by technology and consequently, they have a whole new set of behaviours. They use apps to find exactly what they want, where and when they want it – often at the lowest price available. This behaviour applies to BOTH purchasing of products and even getting the services they want (as we can see in the above examples of industries being disrupted).
On top of this changing behaviour, there is another phenomena: a skyrocketing of customer expectations. Customers have grown to expect best-in-class user experiences from all their online and mobile interactions, as well as many offline ones. Customers no longer compare your offerings only with those of your direct competitors; their experience with Apple or Amazon or ESPN are the new standard.
Quoting a research conducted by PwC:
“…customers are now the most powerful disruptive force facing business. 86% of CEOs believe customers will demand more from their products over the next five years — a sentiment that runs through all businesses regardless of size.”
In short, people are expecting to have their needs fulfilled at places of their own choosing, on their own schedules, tailored to their precise needs and often, at the lowest price possible.
Now, back to the question above – will you be disrupted?
There are indicators which may help you see at least the ‘shark fin’. Your business model may be vulnerable if any of these things are true:
- Your customers have to buy the whole package for just for the one part that they want;
- Your customers can’t get what they want where and then they want it;
- Your customers get a user experience that doesn’t match global best practice;
- Your customers have to cross-subsidise other customers.
Disrupt yourself before you are suddenly disrupted
If any of the above indicators are present, it does mean that you have the opportunities for digital transformation (disruption). This may include modifying or coming out with a new business model which will generate more potential income for your business.
For instance, if currently you are providing financial advices or consultancies in chunks of monthly retainer or hourly-based consultations, you may want to utilise some digital tools to break down your services to a ‘pay per use model’ i.e., charge by the minute instead.
In essence, if you are providing services and customers are supposed to meet you in a certain location at a certain pre-defined time, then you may want to relook at this model and see if you can provide services to your customers at the place and time that they want.
As Mark Zuckerberg aptly said: “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.”
This article takes references from a study conducted by McKinsey.