Friday, 13 September 2013
Caught between a digital David and Goliath
On one hand digital has democratised. It has created a level playing field for small, disruptive start-ups to launch a new business fast, leveraging computing power in the cloud and motivating peer-to-peer armies of willing consumers to create vast scale at a remarkably low cost (see my posts “Customer to Customer and the legend of Kachwachi” or “Outsource your marketing, sales & service to your customers”).
On the other hand, digital has created a vastly uneven playing field, concentrating enormous power into the hands of digital mega-vendors with enormous data stores, insight into consumer behavior and often one-click billing relationships with huge chunks of the population. More and more we see the mega-vendors moving into new industries like Financial Services (via mobile wallet offerings, virtual currencies etc), Computer & Telephony Hardware (phones, tablets, netbooks etc), Media (music, movies & sports), Automotive (driverless cars), Software, Groceries, Gaming, Communications, Healthcare and many more…
The challenge for the average FTSE 250 or Fortune 500 Company (that might have been around for say 20-50 years) is that they are neither a lean, disruptive start-up; nor are they a digital mega-vendor. They are, in effect, caught between David and Goliath.
The majority of businesses in this category certainly have considerable assets (e.g. brands, relationships, physical outlets, contact centres, contracts with customers etc), but they also have a considerable legacy (e.g. brands (?!), physical outlets (?!), contact centres (?!), contracts with customers (?!) etc). In addition, they also have to deal with the significant challenge of remnants of technology, mind-sets, route to market and operating models that were quite simply designed for an analogue age (see my post on “CRM for a digital age”).
The majority of FTSE 100 / Fortune 500 businesses therefore face a challenge; namely, how they identify and leverage the assets they have, whilst at the same time removing (or transforming) their legacy, in order to compete against both David and Goliath at the same time.