Category Archives: Business

The business of tomorrow

When looking into different industries and markets I surprisingly often find myself asking “Where is the IKEA within this industry?”. And this is not about IKEA. Usually the question could be revised, replacing IKEA with another company who has truly challenged and evolved their industry. What I am trying to pin-point is how non-evolved several industries and markets are. A lot of markets are usually instead very traditional, with traditional players and a traditional setup of services and boundaries. Together they have created informal rules of what’s within the particular industry and what’s not. You don’t sell fruits in the same shop as iPads (despite the name of the manufacturer). The setup may have been the same for decades, with no revolutionary changes for what seems like decades.

We may use the banking sector as an illustrative example, but we might actually use almost any kind of industry. Within banking we have old, fancy, large, traditional players. What’s considered as banking is rather pre-defined. You better have some large corporate office in buildings from the last century, some waving flags, a lot of suits and limited opening hours. This is how you do banking, at least the private one – right?

Well, maybe not. We do of course have some new players on the ground, such as (here in Sweden) NordNet, Avanza and Skandia. They are all in some extent trying to redefine what banking is all about. Skandia, for instance, has no bank offices. Still I see no big player trying to lead the way, challenging the traditional banking and financial sector. A player who questions the setup of rules and informal understanding of what the industry is all about. Rather they are all playing the same game according to the same rules as ten years ago. And I guess I don’t need to tell you why that is bad. The easiest way to win the game is to change and define the rules yourself, instead of acting to according the rules of someone else.

In ten years a lot of things have happened. We may just take a look at the mobile devices, who could imagine that outcome? Actually, some did. When the CEO of Ericsson predicted that we will have 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020 some people laughed. Today they are not. Some would actually say that we at that point may laugh about the figure, but then of the opposite reason.

However this is not about predicting the most distinct figures, it is about challenging the mindset and dare to imagine a truly changed world. Since the world has changed a lot during the last ten years, why shouldn’t the same occur for the next ten years? It is more likely that a particular industry will not look the same in ten years, than it will remain intact. It seems rather logical. However still many major players are rather trying to defend their territory instead of exploring the emerging world around them. The players within the industry who will survive are those who dare to lead the way and change the industry. Not the ones lagging behind.

And this is where consultancy companies, like Avanade, should take advantage and capitalize. We should help our customers, showing them the different alternative paths, explain their implication, suggest the groundbreaking one and held their hand while they are moving themselves into the new territory. Why? Since this is what technology is all about; changing the world, evolve the business landscape and redraw the business rules for all of its participants. Then we can talk about “Results realized”.

We must be the very one helping out client to trespass all the traditional rules of the business within their industry and market. We need to help our client redefine the rules within their industry. How? Change management and connected processes definitely needs to be a core competency within the company. This since we must not just utilize from change, we need to promote, push and deliver change. We are not (or at least should not) selling just a logistics system, we are selling supply change. Change is the key to success for companies across all industries. Change is needed to create the business of tomorrow.

We need to be able to help and assist our customers in creating their business of tomorrow.
That is actually our business of tomorrow.

The next generation maps

I remember when Google Maps was released and which huge impact it had on the possibilities to create new services. It was more or less a small revolution for developers, entrepreneurs, academics, students, companies and actually everyone of us, even though a very few ones of us realized it back then. However some of them who did created their whole new business on the new tools that Google made available for us. What previously would have needed either a lot of money or the amount of effort that made most of us postponing such projects were now within reach.

Ted Valentin was one of the entrepreneurs who understood the possibilities and made reality of his ideas; to create a whole network of web pages were maps the actual baseline of the service it provided to its users. To name a few badkartan shows and lists different bath spots around in Sweden, with sushikartan it is easy to find a rate local sushi restaurants and with wifikartan it is a breeze to find a wifi hot-spot.

Lately some of the above services has met a lot competition from social media as well as particular apps and new web sites. My belief is though that there is a new tool available that might have the power to become the new revolution of map services; dynamic data visualized on maps. When we previously were limited to (roughly) add coordinates and display different kind of pins with information, we now have a whole new set of amazing tools to visualize dynamic data on maps thanks to the great service of CartoDB. If you have not taken a glance on this yet you better do. Carto enables you to visualize hardly any kind of data on a map and illustrate your concept in a way that previously required a huge amount of skills as well as effort. Their own provided examples gives a good introduction to what is possible: Climate changes and how it affects different areas, the US election result in real time divided per state and more odd ones such as a presentation of naval ships during world war II.

Additional to create entertaining maps I see a lot of opportunities of how this could evolve different business needs; such as illustrating sales in real time, display and plan routes within supply chain and visualize market analysis for different regions. National Geographic and The Guardian has already realized the greatness of these tools, I suggest you to do the same as soon as possible. Well prepared and with a good business insight it should be a rather smooth thing to sell in this kind of custom developed dynamic data driven maps to customers. According to me, showing our customers how their business can be enhanced with technology is one of our main parts as a consultant – and therefore everyone of us who are within the consultant business should definitely evaluate how these tools can provide such enhancements (and add new business) at our customers.

The next generation maps are here, for sure. Remember were you read it.