Today’s lightning fast business climate presents companies with a choice: you can either disrupt or be disrupted. The explosion of social media, mobile, big data and cloud technology is sending shockwaves through every industry, and companies that fail to get out in front of this wave will be swamped by those that do. These technologies — many of them simple, low cost, or free — have leveled the playing field, allowing lean businesses to sprint up the field and do end runs around more established rivals. Consider Spotify.
The music streaming service recognized that with the growth of online music access, the traditional model of purchasing music no longer applied. So the company gave consumers a freemium business model that has changed the way we listen to music and breathed new life into the ailing music industry. Not every company is born on the Internet, and plenty of traditional businesses have reinvented themselves for the digital age. But from startups in stealth mode to Fortune 500 enterprises, those that have succeeded share the seven disruptive traits described in the following pages.
Where will your next generation of customers come from? Disruptor firms have closely pondered this question and have concluded that — especially for brands that target younger consumers — they will be reached online through their mobile and handheld devices.
But “mobile first” isn’t just a strategy for digital brands like Spotify and Facebook. Regardless of the industry, any business desiring a strong online presence needs to consider how to make it accessible to its mobile-first customers.
Wells Fargo CMO Jamie Moldafsky brings home this point.
She recently discussed how the San Francisco-based bank has transformed itself into a digital business, where technology is paramount. “Our biggest opportunity — but also challenge — is how to get the organization to think mobile first,” she says. (4)
“Historically, when people have asked us, ‘Who are your competitors?’ we would answer Chase or Bank of America. Today, however, we would answer Google or Amazon.”Reaching the next generation of consumers with mobile banking will be central to Wells Fargo’s future growth, Moldafsky says. “We’ve always been an innovative company, but we realize that the speed with which the world is changing and where our customers are headed requires us to get ahead of them."
“Going digital” can no longer be treated as a standalone, or “bolt on,” strategy. Being competitive in today’s globally connected, mobilized economy means your business must put mobile technology, social media, big data and the cloud at the core of everything it does. Companies that become digital disruptors will survive and thrive; those that seek to be followers may find themselves quickly overrun.
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Lead through innovation; “fast following” is no longer fast enough
Maintain a razor-sharp focus on the customer at all times
Create a “fail fast” sustainable culture of innovation
Use data and crowdsourcing to invigorate innovation
Forge external partnerships to sustain a technical edge
Align marketing and IT to drive the business forward
To reach the next generation of customers put “mobile first”