CTO John Leek asks how your business is preparing for inevitable change.
The list is long—Blockbuster Video, PanAm Airlines, Polaroid, Sharper Image, A&P and Woolworths were at one point icons of American business. These icons all have one thing in common: the inability to adapt to predominant trends in the business world.
The fastest changing component of our world is technology. Those of us who have a couple of decades of experience have seen the rise and fall of Palm Pilots, flip phones and, most recently the BlackBerry, all in favor of newer, more user-friendly or cost-effective solutions. Just a decade ago we had tube-based TVs and fifteen years ago, many people still used dial-up modems to access the Internet.
How can your business see change coming and adjust your business plans to avoid being on this list? It just requires a little bit of focused thought, and you can see the changes coming. All we need to do is observe trends.
However, as we evaluate trends, we must separate certainties from likelihoods. It is likely that it will be cold in the winter and that technology will get smaller. In the latter case, however, we all see the emergence of larger cell phones, so that trend seems to have waned. Regardless, there are certainties out there that we can use to ensure our businesses remain aligned with an ever-changing world.
Let me prove it to you.
- There are 65.8 million baby boomers still alive. All are between the ages of 50 and 68. They will age, they will retire, they will eventually pass away. There will be growing legions with issues associated with aging. Not to mention the need to replace retiring staff members. What does this mean for your business?
- Is it a certainty that more and more consumers will choose convenience versus in-store experiences? We see the death of shopping malls all around us, but there is growth in “urban shopping experiences”. So there is a dichotomy there that reflects a high likelihood that consumers will continue to buy products and services online (e.g. Amazon) versus a growth in “urban shopping experiences” (in Kansas City, these include Zona Rosa, Prairie Fire, or Town Center). What will this trend mean to your business?
- Internet bandwidth or speeds continue to increase while costs continue to drop. Additionally, Internet access continues to become available in more places, including airplanes, restaurants and airports, all at little or no cost. We also see the improved quality associated with video streaming that has been the demise of Blockbuster video stores. Distance learning using these technologies opens tremendous possibilities for students in places where certain training is not easily available. How can your business use this trend?
- Data continues to grow, but that’s not really the story. The story is that compute capacity, lower storage costs, and big Internet pipes (all certainties) allow us to process a broad set of information for our business’ benefits in marketing, in examining consumer and business trends. This data can be used to make our business more efficient and adapt our business to the future.
Hopefully now you can see that certainties can be identified and that these certainties can be used to adapt your business, so your business is not another Blockbuster.
Is your business ready for change? Share with us in the comments section below how you’re preparing for the inevitable.