Don’t Talk To Me About Digital Transformation…

Digital Transformation
If you don’t have a data strategy to disrupt, you’re going nowhere. And fast.

Digital transformation – tech world’s latest buzzword is getting used by everyone and executed by few.

We’re great at making up terms that sound exciting- but aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I prefer talking about data disruption. We’re not transforming the way we use data, we’re creating new opportunities for business areas for revenue that previously wasn’t seen before.

This isn’t transformation, it’s data disruption!

And if you don’t have a data strategy to disrupt your competitors or your existing processes, you’re already behind.

Organisations are struggling with disruption. The best way to describe it is like a New Year’s Resolution. We’ve all said it….“I’m going to get fit”! But to succeed, you need to disrupt your fitness process.

Data, data everywhere, and not a drop to drink

Do you realize just how much access to data we have in our lives that wasn’t even there 5 years ago?

Five years ago nobody was getting fit with data! The current trend of wearing Fitbits (or similar wearable devices) was unheard of, and yet it’s now inspired a whole new generation of competitiveness using data.

Humans love competition. Now with these devices businesses are making fitness competitive- which completely changes the dynamic about how we view fitness.

I recall the discussions when everyone in the office started using fitbits – who was doing more steps than someone else? These data-driven devices have completely turned the health industry on its head.

It’s not such a large step (see what I did there?) to imagine the countless other opportunities like it that currently don’t even exist.

We can track any area of our lives

The sky is no longer the limit… I’m excited to see which will be the next solution that makes a difference!

I recently watched the Tom Hanks film The Circle, which does a great job imagining where disruption can take us. It talks about a company that manages and monetizes peoples’ data. It asks the question: what are we ready for? Should we be allowing ourselves to be profiled that way? Is data privacy a fallacy?

The last question is particularly interesting to me– everyone wants privacy, and yet they’re linking their social media accounts and devices without any thought of what information they’re making public. If most people are unconscious about the information they publish, is data transparency really as sinister as it sounds?

I think it has to do with our level of comfort with change and what we find valuable. While identity theft is real and will always be a concern, we are now at a point where it’s far harder to get a complete profile using a few data points.

Most companies are now locking down processes in anticipation of the new data breach notification law. They are no longer just looking at two descriptors as the only security checks to open an account. We have all become more security oriented.

How many of you recall being worried about ATM data security? I’ll guarantee most of you don’t walk into a branch anymore, just like me.

Looking at the data opportunities as “glass half full”

We are on the brink of exciting opportunities. With digital transformation, we are seeing the birth of smart cities, real-time retail opportunities, profiled shopping, online transactions for just about any transaction in the world – from buying wine, to artifacts, to travel, to renting out your property, to chartering a boat.

We don’t even think about what we can’t do anymore– it’s simply taken for granted that we can transact anything online.

The power we have as consumers now is unbelievable. It no longer matters where you live, you will be able to transact the same and everyone can do it.

As soon as people get value from the process, they forget about privacy. I used to avoid booking restaurants with my credit card as I was worried about people stealing it. Now I back Kickstarter projects and buy flowers in the same browsing session!

There isn’t a transaction in the world I wouldn’t be happy about using my credit card for.

Your biggest risk is… you

As a company your biggest challenge is reinventing yourself to be relevant to the next generation.

But humans are incredibly adaptive. There may be pockets of recalcitrance, but the generation under 40 has grown up in the internet-ready era.

I don’t think that banking will exist as a business in the next 10 years. Even now, organisations like Tesla are already providing finance options for solar options and refillable battery sources.

Will power companies be in business in 10 years?  Telcos in Indonesia do 80% of business via mobile phone transactions. The industry has just spent millions of dollars to monetise data from these transactions to sell to retailers so that they can target consumers as they walk down the street. They are no longer Telco businesses – they are retail data providers.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg. Our society is accelerating into this process, not plodding along.

Some companies get it. Others are stuck in the dark ages. The more frustrated they are, the more easily they will be swallowed whole by the way we will transact in the next five to 10 years.

There are so many untapped opportunities out there and businesses that we haven’t created yet. World economies are slowing because they are still stuck in traditional economic structures. Once we get rid of the boundaries, we’ll see the economic situation take off again.

How can I be so sure? I can’t honestly tell my 19-year-old daughter what she will be in the future – potentially the company she will head up doesn’t exist right now. That wasn’t true when I was 19.

But I’m confident she will have more opportunities than I ever dreamed of. All thanks to data.

What do you think?