Digital disruption is a race: Act now!

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“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity not a threat” (Steve Jobs)

Recently Paris was brought to a standstill by angry taxi-drivers protesting that their livelihoods were being undermined by Uber.Newspapers from the New York Times to local suburban weeklies are losing most of their revenues to digital advertising.

New waves of technology are threatening existing business’ models and undermining revenue streams.

Don’t panic

Your business still has many advantages. You have your customer database – who to contact, what type of service or product they need. You understand your business and the sector you are in. There is still loyalty to your brand.

How do you leverage this to ensure your business stays intact?

The most important thing is to understand the big picture. The change is so powerful and rapid that incremental improvements will probably be insufficient.

It is important that you determine where the real value add lies. You need to ask some searching questions such as:

• Does the new environment favour taking out costs in your supply chain? For example some businesses who deliver to customers are using Uber to make this delivery. They are saving substantial transport and labour costs. These businesses have the flexibility to either reinvest these savings or add to their bottom line.

• Does the technology enable you to radically restructure your sales strategy? The most time-consuming and expensive activities of a sales force lie in travelling to clients. Some businesses have used technology (Skype, the Internet) to detail their products or services to customers. In one case sales representatives meet clients only twice a year and Skype them to sell new deals and new products. Productivity and sales have increased and they have saved nearly thirty per cent of their selling costs.

One strategy that is working well is mixing technology consultants with your experienced staff. This interaction often gives excellent results. You are combining knowledge within the business to expertise in new technologies.

Another successful intervention is keeping your staff up to date with the changes you are making. Rapid change can lead to job insecurity amongst your staff and openness and transparency are often the best antidotes in this situation.

Threat or opportunity?

Whilst we are living in turbulent times, keeping your head and understanding what can be done can lead to even greater prosperity.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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