The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed. I believe that this principle could serve as an analogy to the process of change that the globalized economy is undergoing: either companies transform digitally or, simply... die.More
More than 50% of the companies that occupied the Fortune 500 in 2000 have gone bankrupt, been absorbed or simply fallen off the list.
We are living through a process of dizzying change that makes it necessary to decisively face the digital transformation in organizations. Historically, technological revolutions occur every 50 years. However, if we look back over the last 20 years, we have witnessed several revolutions that have changed the economic and social model in the world. This process has accelerated.
We are in an environment where staying on the crest of the wave is extremely complex because every so often new disruptive players emerge, ready to change the laws of the market, determined to change processes, focused on optimizing resources. But it is no longer just a matter of being on the crest of the wave. For companies to survive these changes, they must reinvent themselves every day.
We see how giants such as Google and Facebook change their business models from time to time. The case of Google started in 2003 when it bought a semantic web company, Applied Semantic, which allowed it to provide advertising with new advanced features, unknown until then, and which helped its clients to be more efficient in their advertising investments.
It seems that it is now reinventing itself into the world of Artificial Intelligence thanks to the recent purchase of the deep learning company Deep Mind, which will allow it to face new challenges with an intelligent virtual assistant in its new search engine.
On the opposite side we have as examples companies that were born out of the mobile communications revolution, such as Nokia or Blackberry, which were worth a fortune at the time for the contributions they made to their sector and which, on the contrary, did not continue to reinvent themselves until they became irrelevant in their sector.
And in the middle we have the case of IBM and Microsoft, which have been able to maintain a relevant position during several technological revolutions, focusing now on cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence.
But... how to face the digital transformation?
The first thing to say is that innovation should not only be in technology, which is the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about digital transformation. Innovation should also apply to the business model.
In my opinion, the digital transformation process should encompass at least these five pillars:
- Think digital. Organizations cannot complete a digital transformation process if they are not able to change the culture of the company. It is worthless for a specific department to carry out specific actions if they are not accompanied by a cultural change throughout the organization, where innovation takes precedence over bureaucracy and hierarchies. While it is necessary, as I say, that this change permeates the entire organization - from owners to managers and employees - it is true that there are profiles that are better suited to lead this transformation in the organization: they are profiles that clearly have leadership skills and a great capacity for initiative.
- Build efficient and, above all, scalable business models: the rapid evolution of new technologies means that business models and processes must be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. Another fundamental aspect is that scalability can be applied to the product. We are in an era in which users have the latest generation technology at our fingertips - often even free of charge - so organizations must be adapted to growing mass consumption and, therefore, their products and services must be scalable to balance this demand.
- Put the customer at the center of the entire strategy by listening to consumers. It is essential to listen and understand what consumers want and, nowadays, there are a multitude of tools capable of monitoring the conversations that users post on the Internet about products, brands, services, etc. Putting the customer at the center allows brands to adapt quickly to the needs of the market. Feedback on opinions, whether good or bad, will allow companies to generate links with users. Therefore, using these technologies allows companies to listen and learn from the market in record time.
- Use of Open Source technology as a strategy for openness. Leaving patents aside, it has been demonstrated that collaborative economies enrich all the organizations that participate in them. This open culture, such as Open Source technologies, is necessary in any digital transformation process because, above all, it will allow adapting to changes in an agile and stable way.
- Exploit the immense opportunities that Big Data offers. We are in the era of Data. Consumers are leaving small traces of information that, together, can represent an immense opportunity for companies. Being able to transform this huge amount of data into relevant information for decision making is essential. If we said before that it is necessary to put the customer at the center of the strategy ... putting data at the epicenter of the customer is the key to success in this process of digital transformation.
Technological revolutions have changed the economy as we knew it until the mid-90s. And it has done so like a tsunami that, advancing rapidly and steadily, has caused major changes in some sectors such as Tourism, Leisure or the Music Industry. Any companies in these sectors that have not transformed digitally are now irrelevant to the market. We are seeing how collaborative economies have forced companies that were previously stable in their segments to rethink their models.
An example of this adaptation is the one carried out by the Spanish hotel company Room Mate, a chain with a very clear positioning and market niche that launched with tremendous success its Be Mate subsidiary, a rental network of private tourist apartments to which it added some of the services that only hotels offer. That is, all guests staying in rental apartments are entitled to enjoy services available in the hotel, such as gym, spas, babysitting, etc... It is a clear example of innovation in the business model, carried out thanks to technology.
One of the sectors undergoing profound changes is the financial sector. Until now it had remained very stable and "self-protected", beyond the forced digitalization processes that had to be carried out in order to be able to make transactions through the Internet, as a massive demand from its consumers.
However, they are now facing very demanding challenges as a result of the rise of crowfunding (open funding platforms) or the standardization of Bitcoin as a payment currency. But what can really be an earthquake for this sector is the adoption or not of Blockchain technology in their processes, a blockchain that is presented as a shared and distributed database, in which each operation has a series of keys and whose access is restricted to the users involved in the transaction, also functioning as a backup of the information.
To sum up, the conclusion is clear: those who do not digitize and reinvent themselves every few years will end up being irrelevant.
At A3Sec we are aware of this need and we contribute our "grain of sand" in digitally transforming our clients. We are highly specialized in the management of Big Data, Machine Learning; and in ensuring that technological infrastructures are secure and stable.