If there’s one lesson business can take away from the past decade, it’s this: If your business doesn’t keep on top of technology, technology will get on top of it.
Not just get on top of it, but tear it apart and devour it before you can say Kodak, Borders, Blockbuster, Yellow Pages or dozens of other former household names.
And if it doesn’t close you down, it might fundamentally change the way you communicate, market, sell, work or a range of other business processes specific to your industry.
Change at the speed of light
The truth is that technology now moves so fast, that a change to a critical business process can overwhelm a previous practice within a matter of weeks.
Take the taxi industry, for example. Who would have thought that a disparate communications technology would actually threaten a staple of the transport industry for centuries if you include the former horse-drawn version.
But threaten it app sensation Uber has. All of a sudden an industry which has got away with poor service and even worse personal hygiene for decades has had to clean up its act remarkably quickly due to the fact that a travel app has bypassed traditional regulatory mechanisms to come up with a better way of doing things in no time at all.
Seemingly from out of nowhere, Uber has very cleverly tapped into the geo-tracking, rating, telephony, social networking and eCommerce capabilities of the web to essentially re-invent the notion of transporting consumers.
The Napster of transport?
One can’t help but think that Uber might well be the Napster of the taxi industry – maverick and barely legal, but the kick in the backside the industry needs to bring its act into the 21st century.
Again, who would’ve thought that a nerdy digital tool like an app would turn a completely non-digital industry – taxis – on its head?
And truth be told, few industries are left untouched by some aspect of the digital world.
Coming to an industry near you
The same graphic designers that have saved a small fortune on courier fees expended on transporting their artwork between themselves, their clients and print houses due to high bandwidth broadband networks are at the same time being threatened by global and cheaper competitors seeking new markets using the same fat pipe.
Tradies once dependent on the annual Yellow Pages for a large component of their business now have to find new ways of attracting customers, predominantly ones that involve Google.
Even musicians who have had technology save them a fortune in professional recording studio fees in turn have had to battle illegal downloads and even when they are paid for, endure lower margins on their music sales.
In fact pretty much everywhere you turn, new technology is changing the way people and organisations fundamentally do business.
Which tech development will impact your business?
As we enter a new year, it’s a good idea to take stock of where your business is up to in relation to technology. And if it appears it’s falling behind, enlist some help before it’s unduly affected by the next big digital thing.
But on a brighter note, this blog wishes all its readers the very best for the festive season and look forward to being as discomforting and controversial come 2015! Cheers!
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.