Digital Business Transformation in 2019

OPINION / 24th January 2019

The future of your business is not an extension of the present. What you did yesterday, will no longer be what you do tomorrow. In the fast-moving digital landscape there is no such thing as “business as usual”.

Prepare for change, iteration and upgrades.

Your products will become services and processes, and technology that has yet to be invented will dominate your business in the future.

If you think we’re exaggerating, take a look around you. The automotive industry is no longer just selling cars, it has started to migrate to selling ‘mobility as a service’.

Estate agents are no longer just selling long-lease lets, they’re promoting short-term shared workspaces to provide for the ever increasing ‘gig’ economy.

Of course, we’ve all heard about the big players and what they’ve done to disrupt their markets. Netflix saw off Blockbusters. Spotify revolutionised the music business. And Amazon has set a new gold standard for e-commerce.

Disintermediation is happening everywhere. Competition from businesses that don’t look like yours will challenge your ways of working and take your customers, should you not adapt and change.

Banking has taken a bashing from digital challengers, including from N26 in Germany and Starling here in the UK. In the US, Amazon is set to offer its 340 million prime customers free online banking, which will include free international money transfers and low-interest peer to peer loans in the coming years, which will disrupt the financial services industry even further.

The manufacturing industry is on course to be democratised by 3D printing. Mass production will be replaced by local, printing on demand services, bringing products closer to the customers, and faster. It will enable personalisation in ways not possible before, allowing companies to create a deeper connection to their customer.

Take Volkswagen as an example, it has already begun printing customised metal gear sticks for its cars – personalising each for every customer.

The rate of change in business is unprecedented and has caught many digital laggards off guard.

The pioneering tech leading the automotive industry did not come from the likes of Mercedes or BMW, but from Tesla and Google, both of which built a new car from the ground up, and left traditional brands scrabbling to catch-up.

Most industries will be disrupted in a similar way. Many will have to be reset and rebuilt.

Success in Industry 4.0 will be about pivoting and finding new sources of value for your customer, who thanks to the mini super-computer they hold in their hands, is savvier and less loyal than ever before.

In today’s world, it’s the companies who control the interface between the consumer and the provider of the goods or services that have become the new wealth creators.

Look at Uber, Alibaba and Airbnb as examples. Spotify has adopted a similar model. It doesn’t sell music, rather an intelligently designed interface, and AI tech that personalises the user experience. Netflix is the same.

These new interface businesses carry none of the costs of providing the service but take a cut from the millions of consumers that buy from them. So, interface is where the profit is.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, you’ll need to use data and algorithms to create new sources of value for your customers. Analytics will enable you to gain a greater and deeper understanding of your customers, so that you can interact and engage with them in a new personalised, meaningful way.

In 2019, digital business transformation will incorporate many of the new waves of technologies that are now emerging on to the market, including:

  • Sensors
  • Internet of Things
  • Intelligent Assistants (Home hubs & speakers)
  • Edge computing
  • ‘Cognification’ (a term coined by Kevin Kelly)
  • AI (intelligent assistance, biometrics and speech recognition)
  • Hyperconnectivity

These technologies feed off each other and will generate more data than ever before. Anticipating this new era of data-driven business, we’ve equipped ourselves to tackle the new challenges these technologies will bring to our clients, and recently appointed a new head of data, who will join us at the end of January.

ORM’s view 

We’ve been riding the digital wave for the last 20 years, keeping pace with new technology as it has shaped our world. Within this time we’ve helped our clients keep pace (or ahead of their competition!), being first to market with many digital trends, including creating the first mobile banking interfaces for the first generation iPhone and Android smartphones and creating the first iPad app to use a Bluetooth barcode scanner to scan people into events.

We believe in helping our clients to use digital technology to have the freedom to grow, scale and change, with the speed and efficiency they need to survive in an era of unprecedented change.

Come and talk to us about we can help your business navigate digital business transformation in 2019.

Peter Gough Peter Gough Managing Partner & Founder Peter Gough