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Why You Should Disrupt Your Own Business Before a Competitor or New Start-Up Does


Why You Should Disrupt Your Own Business Before a Competitor or New Start-Up Does

Many companies accept the status quo when it comes to operating models. They have done stuff in a certain way for a long time. It works, so why change? Because you want a flourishing future, I guess?

If you don’t disrupt yourself, a competitor or new start-up will. The impact of both options is the difference between a chameleon or a dinosaur. Therefore always challenge your status quo. Don’t be caught by surprise, surprise yourself. How? Start by improving the usage of business intelligence. Create competitive advantage and start to operate smarter.

These days reporting is really sophisticated. Collecting data and convert it into visual analytics is no rocket science anymore. The tools are widely available and are a huge leap forward for decision making. Information provides people with knowledge, enabling them to anticipate on identified possibilities and to take action. The digital economy requires you to look at ways to disrupt (yourself). Take for instance the effect of robotics and augmented reality on roles and processes. How is your organisation going to deal with that? These are inevitable developments due to the course technology is sailing.

Disruption by breaking down silos

Why shouldn’t you attack your HR function with business intelligence? Why not analyse your marketing strategy with new tools? Not because you were asked to, but because you are eager to explore new possibilities. Why don’t you dare your IT department to do things differently. Valid questions in this era of digital transformation, I think.

Organisations must overcome the silo mentality. Thinking in silos will prevent them from becoming more agile. Ignoring the added value of  connecting departmental data is a missed opportunity. By connecting fields and innovative ideas you might just have the handle that enables you to beat competition, surprise your customer or improve your service.

Examples of disruptive companies

Take for instance Amazon. They steered their course from books, to the retail landscape to their latest launch: AmazonFresh, a grocery delivery service. Or our Dutch example with their similar strategy. They also started with books, followed up with cd’s and eventually expanded to a wide variety of retail businesses of which products are partly distributed by themselves, partly by a network of suppliers. Did they feel threatened by the circular economy? On the contrary, they embraced it by incorporating second-hand sales in their platform.

Another example is the Plannerstack Foundation, a non-profit organisation that rethinks the travel information business and unlocks possibilities in mobility topics. Plannerstack brings the future of mobility solutions and travel information technology today. The members were forerunners in propagating open data in this industry. They reorganised open data into a scalable stack that enables companies to develop smart applications.

Need more examples? Nintendo’s Pokémon Go brought with one pivot augmented reality to a mass audience and repositioned the company in the gaming sector. Other much-discussed companies are Uber (taxi), Airbnb (bed & breakfast) and Toogethr (ridesharing). Check them out and learn what they did differently.


Distinguishing strategy

Is everything these companies do a success? No. They also had to decommission products, functionalities and services along the way. But by trying and failing they learned, got smarter and succeeded in creating powerful innovations and vital businesses.

Release your organisation from its cumbersome character and make it agile and future-proof. Think like start-ups. It might look like their culture of perks is driving innovation. It’s not. It is the way they attack problems and mobilise talent that makes them unique and agile. Think big, start small and act fast. Create space to incubate new ideas. Execute a great idea with high-speed acceleration and break off quickly when the idea is not commercially viable.

Disruption is a mindset. It’s better to disrupt yourself than to be destroyed by a competitor or a newcomer. Especially large companies have their own, sometimes age-old, DNA. Good news for these organisations: DNA can mutate. It takes smart modifications in the operating model to become or stay a significant player in the market. How your company approaches business intelligence in the boardroom is key in this process. Expand your horizon. Revealing opportunities in the digital economy is a different kind of art. Become a Picasso!

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