The digital revolution has created a new generation of consumers who want ever more accessible, portable, flexible and customised products, services and experiences. They expect to move seamlessly – in real time – between the physical and virtual worlds. And they’re prepared to disclose quite a lot about themselves to get what they want.
Technological advances are also transforming the workplace. They’re providing the tools to enable people to work anywhere, anytime; putting more power in the hands of employees than ever before; and erasing the ‘four walls’ of the organisation as collaborative networks replace conventional corporate modes of operating.
The social, mobile, analytic and cloud technologies that underpin this revolution are producing numerous opportunities for companies to generate value in totally different ways – and even, indeed, to redefine the businesses they’re in. The opportunities aren’t just confined to the conventional corporate spheres of activity. Armed with new technologies, some firms will be able to solve complex social problems, profitably.
A growing number of companies are embracing ‘disruptive’ technologies. They’re investing in social media, mobile devices, cloud computing and big data to engage with customers in new ways and gather insights for developing and marketing new offerings more effectively. They’re also joining forces with organisations in adjacent industries.
But capitalising on these technologies is difficult, given the speed at which they’re progressing. It’s all too easy to get on the ‘wrong side’ and end up as a casualty, not a pioneer. Many companies are also unsure about how to use the data they collect. And finding good allies is becoming very much harder as more and more firms collaborate.
The transformation of the workplace has other implications. Most companies will have to provide digital tools for training people who don’t pursue traditional career paths. They’ll also have to adopt a more democratic management style to attract ‘digital natives’ and employ executives who are highly skilled at assembling and managing teams.
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