4. If you want to build a strong business, don’t focus just on digitizing today’s business
Think continuously on how new technologies will impact upon your business model in the future. For instance, rather than continuing to digitize and automate their manufacturing and logistics processes, a pharma company recently received regulatory approval to 3D print their drugs, opening up a new world of customized medication.
5. Harness the power of communities
Tap into both consumer communities and tech ‘ecosystems’ – for example, the tech start-up networks in Silicon Valley, East London, Eindhoven and Nairobi – where a business can assemble a wealth of innovation and technology from multiple, fast-moving sources.
We now run start-up challenges in several tech clusters around the world, connecting the biggest challenges of our large clients with the creativity of start-up communities in Silicon Roundabout, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Berlin and others.
6. Love and hate your legacy
In a world where a new technology can hit 50 million users in under 30 days, the reality is that every organization builds up technical debt. Left unchecked, that can create a huge barrier to agility. However, the line between an asset and a liability can be thin. Physical stores can keep operating costs high, but they can also be a valuable asset for engaging with consumers and offering greater logistics options.
A leading Russian retailer was concerned by online-only retailers competing on price. Instead of following the price war, they turned their supply chain and physical stores into a competitive advantage, allowing consumers to browse in shops, order online, pay in cash on arrival and service in store.
7. Plan for a diverse workforce
In the future, diversity won’t just mean men or women, or people from different ethnic backgrounds. It will mean having a workforce that may be comprised of locally based employees, a network of freelancers working globally 24/7 and a digital workforce of physical and software robots carrying out some of the toughest tasks. Diversity also means diversity of skill-sets. Success in digital today demands a constant clashing together of skills from creatives and technologists to lawyers and cyber specialists.
For example, fines for companies getting topics like data privacy wrong can now reach four percent of global group turnover in some regions. In order to get to market more quickly, a consumer products company recently decided to make certain their lawyers were “at the design table,” working through potential legal barriers early, rather than blocking new concepts just before launch.
8. Recognize the value of data
If you use your data well, it will give you invaluable insight into the customer experience that you are delivering and help to refine your administrative processes, your operations and your supply chain. It may even prompt you to overhaul your business model. GE Digital has transformed into a multi-billion software company, building a data platform for the industrial internet which offers their clients insights into the real-time performance of their jet engines, wind turbines, medical equipment and more. In fact, EY and GE Digital recently announced a strategic alliance to develop and provide Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) services.