I start this blog post with excitement to talk about technology with a question: Why do companies today have an insatiable appetite for IT? Why should companies look at IT as a competition and not as a department? The fierce competition to which the market is subjected, forces companies in dynamic markets to be constantly looking for business opportunities and ways to improve their competitiveness.
For companies competing for certain market niches, it is vitally important to assess the state of their market niches: where they are, what is the demand and the ability to attract. What profiles can we pursue with more options and on which we have, what are their demands compared to what other companies in the sector offer. What reasons have the clients had for abandoning us.
The input of the analysis of our market niches, clients and potential clients, as well as the exploration of new niches of interest, will give us a series of inputs that will have to be used to evaluate if really there can be a business of interest in the use and later exploitation of this opportunity but also initiatives to improve the competitiveness of our brand.
Some ways of identifying opportunities that are always aimed at strengthening the position of the company vis-à-vis its investors, clients and employees:
Betting on new market segments. Exploit commercial relationships. Seek unresolved needs. Eliminate traditional trade barriers. Identify failures in your own market and reuse waste or by-products. Develop new technologies and complete things that already work. Employee skills.
The identification and weighting of these business opportunities through decision matrices and their subsequent inclusion in the company’s Business Canvas Model and Business Model will allow us to articulate an implementation plan, evaluate costs and the expected benefit. This benefit will always result in an increase in the company’s competitiveness. With this objective in mind, some of the key pillars that it will touch upon could be:
Increase customer satisfaction Reduce operating costs Develop new products and services Improve processes and performance
If we look at the points described as well as the implementation plans, we see that IT can contribute in all the areas described. This is the fundamental reason why IT cannot be an isolated department and must become a competence that the whole organization is able to acquire. It is vital for the survival of organizations. If we add to this that we are living a period of dizzying advancement of technologies, where raising strategies to more than 3-5 years does not make sense for two main reasons. The first is that if it takes more than 5 years to implement a change, the company may need to review its processes and their performance. And the second would undoubtedly be associated with the changes that the technology to be implemented undergoes. If something disruptive takes 5 years to implement, and then another 5 years to amortize, it is very possible that we have alternatives that appear in a shorter period of 10 years and that prevent us from amortizing the changes made.
Apart from the reasons already mentioned, the arrival of industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution is shaking not only the range of technologies that are at hand, but also the professional profiles, processes and structures within the companies to allow for the rapid change that is demanded. 2019 is another year that comes loaded with advances and trends that we must take into account to assess within our analysis of business opportunities and improved competitiveness in strategic plans and associated implementation programs. To mention a few:
5G Networks. These networks are up to 100 times faster than 4G networks. This will allow even better mobile services, more real-time applications and therefore a huge boost to IoT (Internet of Things), virtual and augmented reality with 4K and 8K capabilities. As well as the transfer of data, whose volume continued to increase and opportunities to exploit this information. New computing architectures and artificial intelligence chips: the first quantum computers, specific 3D printed chips and heterogeneous architectures with more than one type of processor, will make the algorithms that can run Deep Learning more present and therefore we have scenarios with increasingly intelligent cities, machines with common sense and assistants adapted to the needs of their owners or safer autonomous vehicles.
The possibilities opened up as well as the lowering of storage costs brought about by Cloud computing mean that there are new technologies that are rapidly being made available to customers, who demand that existing services be adapted to these new technologies due to the level of comfort and personalisation and assistance offered through them.
Evaluating the correct way to use the new technologies to see if they are at an adequate level of maturity for exploitation and digestion is key, since in the face of so many possibilities, the funds available must be directed towards investors whose risk management and return on investment are optimal.
These are years of intense change, of exciting opportunities. The seizure of these opportunities is transforming companies in their organization and structure, cultures are evolving for industry 4.0 and to retain the talent needed to cope with this change. IT will never again be something foreign to the business, it mixes with the business, orienting the entire organization towards products and customers for business success.