Dis-Intra-rupt: The new age of business and looking inwards
As consumers, we can all agree that this wave of market-disruption is a good thing. We all stand to benefit from this new model of engaging with traditional services. Right now, you can order a dry-cleaning pickup, schedule a dog grooming for your pooch, before catching an online-ordered taxi to the airport. Sitting in comfort during your journey you can live-trade on the stock market in your favourite shares (Go EasyEquities!). All these can be accomplished within a few minutes, with just a few clicks on your tablet or smartphone.
People generally have a feeling of enjoyment when realising the benefits of using these disruptive apps, primarily because of the rapid response and instant-gratification that is now available. Services like Uber are commonplace. So much so, ‘Uber’ has become as much a buzzword as ‘disruption’ at conferences (drink!).
Personally, I had previously never used a traditional metered taxi, besides when travelling in a first-world country where it is perceivably safer (cleaner) and I didn’t have to carry any cash. The implication is clear: that not only are Uber-esque services directing business away from the traditional old-school businesses - disruption now looks to grab the attention of an audience that has never previously been serviced.
Fundamentally though, there is still an underlying problem with the older, mature businesses trying to disrupt their existing market. Their primary problem is a lack of speed. Traditional businesses are bogged down by slow processes, primarily in their procurement departments and within their supply chain management. The proverbial red-tape is preventing the necessary acceleration, movement and momentum that is required to disrupt a market.
Client-facing disruption is now commonplace, expected and easy. To attain the necessary speed to get onto the wave, I think it’s important for the older businesses to first direct the principles of this disruption movement inwards. Businesses need to challenge the way they operate internally. Starting with revamping their processes around purchasing, supplier management, payroll, HR (including recruitment and staff loyalty programmes) and ending with their actual operations: the day-to-day, business-as-usual, grind.
Businesses have to first internally disrupt to survive this rapid changing and rapid-response demand from a service-hungry consumer market.
Entelect are often called in to reinvigorate an operational software-development environment. Our software expertise and years of experience afford us a unique opportunity to help a client embrace these changes. The easiest and quickest win is often the systemization of functions that could (and should) be automated and easier to use:
- Are companies still using paper based leave and expense claim forms? Yes.
- Spreadsheets for sales tracking? Yes.
- Lengthy tender processes for research and development (R&D) initiatives? Yes
These are simple examples of operationally draining and costly exercises. These should be completed in a maximum of 3 clicks, in under 2 minutes.
Although every client is different, I have on numerous occasions experienced a complete disconnect between the older, mature business processes, such as traditional procurement which don’t fit the disruptive millennial & on-demand services model. I acknowledge that the red-tape is important, but not always appropriate for modern disruptive services.
The up-and-coming workforce (and by extension younger consumer) is looking for something vastly different to the industrial age operating model. The next generation will help you in reinvigorating your business, and to do this it is vitally important to engage with your employees individually, understanding their goals and how best to utilise their strengths within, so it becomes mutually beneficial.Reward these employees immediately. Use your older knowledge to teach that building things right, the first time, is still relevant – but also use it to rebuild your business from the inside. Rebuild it with this generation’s service-expectation model.
Embracing these new ways of operating a business is not easy. You might ask why fix the toaster that is not broken? The bottom line is that your toaster is grimy and slow and burns your fingers because the eject spring has fallen off! It’s time to embrace the new, but make sure you Dis-Intra-rupt your business first.