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.

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