There’s plenty of talk online about the disruption that technology is forcing business to deal with on an almost daily basis. However, what isn’t, generally, given too much thought is this – in business, opportunity arises out of change.
The bottom line for any business that is looking to not just survive but prosper is that no matter what disruption is being faced, you have to identify the (often) hidden opportunity & seize it!
Here are some examples:
Whether you wish to speak with someone who is in another country or state, or you demand communication with your supplier who is half way around the world, technology makes it possible to do so.
Thanks to text messages, email, online chat & social media you can now send messages and get replies from people in other parts of the world at minimal cost.
Disruptor – Customers have the ability to voice their opinions to the world (threatening business reputations). They can also compare the offering of one business with that of its competitors, without leaving home.
Opportunity – Businesses can build stronger relationships through cheaper & faster communications. The opportunity to access previously inaccessible markets is now a reality. Problems with customers can be identified & remedied quickly – improving reputation & securing customer loyalty.
The use of modern technology in carrying out business operations can be of great help in completing daily tasks. Processing of paperwork is done at the snap of a finger and transactions can be calculated and carried out automatically.
Disruptor – As advances in technology increases, tasks that are usually done by human employees can now be performed by computer systems. For example, tasks formerly performed by live receptionists in most business environment are now done by the use of automated telephone.
Opportunity – Some cost streamlining can result in savings that can be passed onto customers, making the offering more competitive. Staff can be retrained to improve service delivery to the customer, rather than being occupied in outdated processes.
Technology makes it possible to store and easily access data in an electronic database. In previous times, one would have to sift through paper records stacked together to retrieve data. With properly implemented technology, accessing information can be done at the push of a button.
Disruptor – Although, business can be carried out at a faster rate thanks to Information Technology (IT), it’s not without some drawbacks. Security breaches is a vulnerability to information Technology systems, especially when accessing them can be done through the internet. If correct security measures are not in place, illegitimate or unauthorized personnel may get access to confidential information. Such information may be tampered with, destroyed or used for selfish purposes.
Opportunity – Business information systems can be streamlined for efficiency. Better analysis of data can result in additional opportunities being uncovered or trends being discovered earlier
Startup and running costs
The startup cost for implementing any form of computer information system has fallen dramatically – what was once only affordable to big companies is now within reach of most businesses.
Disruptor – All businesses can now afford sophisticated IT systems to set up & run their business meaning the previous barrier of requiring large amounts of capital to start & run a business has been largely eliminated, meaning competition is likely to increase
Opportunity – Investing in better IT systems provides the business with increased access to information to better deliver on customer expectation. Information is available in a more timely manner & is more accurate to enable better business decision making.
Disruptors in Industry Groups
Disruption is not restricted to individual businesses – whole industry sectors are being affected. For example:
Disruptor–People are going online to stream their favourite music, as opposed to buying a CD/DVD
Opportunity – Development of apps to source & play music. Establishment of information blogs specialising in specific genres/artists
?Disruptor – Every show is available online – why watch a free to air broadcast through a traditional TV channel when you can stream a program at a time that suits you?
Opportunity – Development of apps to search for & play particular genres/series. Establishment of online fan clubs & discussion groups
Disruptor – Ride sharing services such as ‘Uber’ Freight & courier services online such as "Deliveroo"
Opportunity – Personalised service delivery using own apps. Specialised services such as shopping delivery, etc
Disruptor – Everything is available online direct; from hotel accommodation to travel agents. EG; Expedia, AirBnB
Opportunity – Special interest group & travel information services
These are just a few examples of businesses & industries that are in the midst of disruptive elements. In all cases, whilst the disruption is very real, there are opportunities that the industry & associated businesses can explore in order to remain viable.
What is not realistic is to attempt to ignore or decry the disruptor – it will not go away & will always end up drowning you if you do nothing to adapt.
The music & entertainment industry is trying to “Block” disruption through government & legal framework intervention, as is the taxi industry. Whilst this may slow down the eventual result it will not halt progress – as the music industry discovered with its pursuit of Napster in the 1990’s & as the film/TV industry is discovering in its attempts to “Block” downloading of content.
Once people discover a better (& usually cheaper) way they will not rest until they get what they want. Smart businesses understand this & so look for ways to adapt to make it work.