Three ways to self-disrupt before you self-destruct

In an age of rapid technological change, industries around the world are being disrupted. What do you need to do to get ahead of the innovation curve?

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As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovators across the globe are reinventing how we live and work through smarter, more connected, predictive and massively more efficient means.

To avoid being disrupted by this emerging trend for radical new technology-driven approaches, businesses in all sectors and parts of the world need to work hard to stay ahead of the competition.

Leading companies are using smart connected models to understand their customers’ needs better and higher-value solutions. They are focusing on designing new end-to-end customer experiences, and monetizing, marketing and selling in a totally new way. They are reinventing their core products and services through building the products themselves to be living, learning and expanding platforms.

We’ve identified three key areas of transformational change necessary to become a smart connected business.

 

1) Develop a modern go-to-market ecosystem

In this new data-driven environment, personalized marketing wins. New technologies enable you to know every customer deeply, through multiple touch points and interactions along their journey. This allows you to monitor their usage and assist you in getting maximum value from your product.

This translates to engaging with your customers over a much more extended timeframe. Their ultimate value to your business is now driven by their long-term interaction with your product, not just initial sales. A majority of value now comes from the data insights and follow-on sales generated through increased user adoption, enhanced feature use and cross-sell or up-sells, rather than simply initial sales.

This means sales teams need to maintain close engagement with the customer, even more so after the sale is made. They should be in regular contact to understand customer issues, drive usage, provide recommendations and identify opportunities to add additional business value to the customer.

 

2) Maximize the potential insights from instrumented products

In today’s fast-moving environment, the leading smart connected businesses are moving toward almost real-time development that integrates marketing, product management, development, engineering and support in a closed-loop cycle.

This model is made possible by the instrumented product – a product with embedded telemetry and intelligence to make it “smart.” To really drive your business forward, the instrumented product should:

  • Report on how customers are using it, how they are not using it and where they are having trouble
  • Give indications on when a customer is at risk of giving up on your product through usage data and pattern analysis
  • Provide in-context support to users, when and where needed
  • Incorporate automated marketing and sales functions, such as recommending upgrades at the individual user level based on their usage data

In essence, the product becomes an autonomous marketing, selling and support engine that can efficiently operate on its own, helping customers optimize the value gained from its use, while helping you draw insights from their behavior to feed in to future product development and sales.

This level of personal value creation is what generates ongoing and ever-increasing customer engagement with a product or service – the only way to maintain the loyalty of customers in the fast-paced innovative realm of smart connected business.

 

3) Develop a smart connected operating platform

The key challenge companies face in adapting to this changing environment is running their existing business and driving its revenue while simultaneously attempting to grow and fuel a smart connected business line.

Problems occur when companies acquire start-ups or launch in-house innovation units and try to scale them on a platform that was never intended to sustain a smart connected business. They end up killing the innovation they bought.

The key lesson to be learned from the failures of others is you cannot create sustainable success in this market without fundamentally changing the operating model, culture and cadence of your business’ overall operations.

There are two primary approaches: switch your entire company’s operations to a new operating platform, to avoid conflicts, or attempt to maintain two separate systems in parallel.

Either can work – it depends on your particular circumstances. But the most vital part is making the commitment to your new business model and developing the right platform to support its launch, growth and scale.

 

The future is now – will you be part of it?

The necessity and challenges of transforming to a smart connected business are having an enormous impact on every corporation across all industries.

The ability of companies to make this shift will determine who disrupts the market – and who will be extinct in the next 10 years.

So far, it is the bold who seem to be succeeding – those who are willing to explore the full extent of the necessary changes and directly take on the challenge of transforming their core business, disrupting themselves to avoid being disrupted by others.

 

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