When we asked the question “what type of company are you?” last time, we received some feedback from our readers wanting to explore this area a little further, as it seems that from a technical standpoint, there are many ways to classify business types. The bottom line is that what we refer to is the level of readiness for companies to undergo a digital transformation, and how different the trajectory will be for each of them depending on how much technology and innovation they already have in place.
Despite the fact that it’s 2019 and digital transformation is clearly here to stay, we still see some resistance among businesses that have been established for a long time, because they trust that their product or service will be enough to keep their loyal customers around forever. This piece, however, does a really great job at busting that myth by bringing to light a few quintessential cases of long business reigns ending or at least being shaken up enough to have to rethink their whole strategy, due to the “digital native” competitors that came up on the scene:
- Few things were as famous as the New York City taxi cabs and the need for them, and along came Uber and completely reshaped the landscape for public transportation and their business model. Now any new venture idea that has an app for it is called “the Uber of…” regardless of the industry. That’s disruption at unprecedented levels.
- Hotel chains and franchises felt safe and secure in their high rises, charging extremely high fees for hospitality, and along came AirBnB, offering a more economic solution for those looking for the alternative, as well as an additional source of income for those providing housing.
- Gillette has been a household brand name for generations, mostly unbothered by competition from any other razor brand, until Dollar Shave Club came to be. DSC provides a delivery service coupled with an incredibly competitive pricing model, as well as a gamma of well-reviewed products, completely revolutionizing the shaving experience for both men and women.
All of the established “incumbent” businesses thought they were unsinkable up until roughly 2010, when the digital era and the climax of Industry 4.0 began. Now that there’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things (IoT), and a number of technologies that enable businesses of all sizes to move forward in the game faster than ever before, no one is really safe, regardless of loyal fanbases. Customer loyalty only goes so far, when competitive pricing models, convenience, and overall improvements are all on the table. And you won’t really be able to predict where the competition will come from.
Now, getting back to the levels of innovation: obviously, the amount of businesses that are at the caliber of the incumbents or the newcomers is a very small piece of the pie, but the truth is that the next disruptors, the next “Ubers,” are being born right now. If you have an idea for a small business, make sure you go into it with a fully digital mindset. There’s going to be a plethora of challenges for the businesses that don’t innovate now, and coming in without leveraging digitization makes no sense. The truth is that innovation will always be a challenge, but the more prepared you are to deal with it and embrace it, the more likely your business is to survive.
Whenever we are contacted by prospects who want to undergo a digital transformation, our first step in the process is to assess their current level of technology compliance to ensure that they are indeed ready to digitize. Not all businesses are created equal, and it doesn’t make sense for businesses with low levels of technology to jump into a full digitization strategy, because the shock will just be too big. If you’re wondering about your company’s readiness to digitally transform, reach out to us so that we can provide you access to our assessment, and we can take it from there. With our over two decades of experience helping businesses innovate, this can be the turning point for your business, no matter what level you are at right now. It all starts with the right information.