No matter what the industry, any company that deals with customers has reached a critical point in the evolution of their organization. Transformation to a new way of doing business is happening faster than ever before. Those who have denied or failed to prepare for this evolution are left behind, scrambling to catch up or keep up.
In the ever-evolving digital age, I don’t see a single industry free of the disruption risk. It’s a risk borne not so much out of the business models of companies such as Uber, but rather in the industry invading strategy being skillfully executed by one of the digital world’s leading players.
I’ve personally grown a bit tired with the example of Uber and the taxi industry. In my opinion, the most relevant current illustration of digital transformation is the ubiquitous Amazon. Not only because Amazon was born, by the measure of the business technology timeline, ages ago (1994 to be exact), but primarily because of the company’s ability to regularly and consistently reach in and disrupt a vast range of industries.
Amazon, as we all know, started with Books, then CDs and DVDs. Later, they added software, furniture, jewelry and almost everything you could think to buy to their offering. Recently, they’ve started competing in the food supermarket space with an online grocery delivery option.
However, who would have thought that Amazon was going to be a star during this year’s Cannes festival presenting 5 movies? This might not come as a surprise for those who closely follow this medium and know Amazon recently acquired the rights to stream big budget drama “Manchester by the Sea,” outbidding industry giants as Universal, Sony and Fox in an auction early this year. These companies can now be numbered among the many across industries that Amazon has surprised.
Let’s look at the example of my friend who owns and operates a city tour company that focuses on visiting historical buildings and locations around Spain. His is unlike the tourist bus tours you can find in almost every city, but a more personalized experience, spending a full day with a group of 40-50 people.
We were discussing the impact of disruption in every market and he told me, “We will not suffer any impact in the next 20 years…we do something different.” This answer has become all too typical, with businesses in denial about transition in their industry because “We are unique and these are my customers.”
As it turns out, two days later I found an interesting article that gained my attention “Airbnb begins testing City Hosts program to give guests guided one-of-a-kind experiences.” Of course, I immediately shared the link with my friend and received a one word response: “Interesting.”
I’m sure he now may be beginning to feel now his business could be in danger. With Airbnb running their beta programs in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo, it’s only a matter of time before Madrid will be added to that list. For my friend, the time to react is now.
Sure enough, this week he called to ask me which technology he should use to transform his business. My answer to him was as follows: Technology is not the solution; it’s only the enabler.
You see, during the last 15 years, I‘ve seen many customers use the same Documentum technology and get completely different results based on one key factor: strategy. Further, I’ve witnessed the same company follow a renewed strategy using Documentum technology on-premises and in the cloud, thanks to our “Documentum as a Service” offering, and achieve vastly enhanced results and benefits, something I will talk about in future posts.
So in the end, or perhaps more accurately, at the beginning, it is primarily about strategy. For my friend, strategy centers on understanding who his digital customers are, where he can engage with them and how he can develop a different type of relationship to provide a great experience. Once he understands this, we will discuss the technology can support his new strategy.
Do you know companies who are focusing on the technology and forget about the strategy? Where is your business on the transformation journey?