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Why investing in digital transformation is key to your business survival today

Authored by: David Horton, Synechron Digital

The world is changing at a very fast pace. Today, global industry and commerce stand at the precipice of the next industrial revolution – the ‘Internet of Things’. In a rapidly evolving society, today’s consumer lives in an always connected world of digital interactions, contextual data analytics, real-time advice and soon we will all be part of the era of artificial intelligence. For many, the digital abyss invokes fear, but for those brave few who can embrace the tsunami of change, it represents an opportunity to define the future.

‘Digital Disruption’ is the term most used by today’s industry futurists. If you are not familiar with the words, it largely describes the impact of new business models which are challenging and devouring traditional firms through the clever use of digital commerce. Recently, the most obvious and probably the most talked about example of this disruption is that of Uber, which is disrupting the taxi business around the world. Without owning any cars, and with a tiny team of staff, the mobile app firm has quickly become a multi-billion dollar company that even has some politicians and governments in protest over its success and subsequent economic impact.

Outside of Uber, we also see examples of digital disruption in the hotel industry with firms like Airbnb, and it is well known that companies like Borders, Blockbusters and Kodak have succumbed to digital businesses like Amazon, Netflix and Apple. Even in the music industry, we see how a combination of owning the physical and digital distribution model made a ‘computer’ company like Apple, the largest seller of music on the planet. Apple hasn’t stopped there either and they now have a significant presence in the mobile payments space with ApplePay. The point of all this is that unless businesses recognize the rapid change in consumer behaviour and the evolving engagement dynamics of their customers, they have a risk of being made irrelevant in a very short space of time. Never before, has it been so important to invest in digital transformation, and in finding new ways to keep ‘connected’ with your customers. From using Natural Language interaction like Cortana, Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, to building artificial intelligence that provide contextual advice and feedback, businesses today are faced with a number of digital transformation options to help themselves reinvent what’s next in their industry.

In financial services, digital disruption is already running rife. The infancy of technologies like blockchain, biometrics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are threatening to go mainstream in just a few years, and with the number of Fintech start-ups and ‘Unicorns’ increasing month by month, there is a strong case to argue that banking is being ‘unbundled’. Never before has the banking industry faced such an onslaught of new digital challengers to each and every aspect of its revenue streams. From peer to peer lending, to Blockchain enabled FX payments and mobile-only banks, the Industry of Trust faces an inflection point - a complete overhaul of how value is stored, moved and invested. However, with great power comes great response and many banks are now looking at ways to anorak the winds of change.

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