In the consulting game there are a lot of people that talk about strategy as though it is in itself the ultimate goal. I have also watched a lot of consultants purport to be strategists when in fact they are project managers that take the scope and then run the project to deliver on the strategic outcomes or as I prefer to put it, run the tactics.
With Mobile World Congress #MWC15 starting next week, all of the above will be on show with all the major and minor players posturing for the enterprise and consumer dollar. Digital disruption is the catch-phrase of the moment with established enterprises being pushed to transform or die. Although governments are moving to protect revenue streams by insulating legacy; slow, lazy, de-optimised industries are being massively disrupted. Examples include the taxi Industry with Uber, Hotels/Accomodation with AirBnB, and car dealers with Tesla.
As a consultant it is easy to get tied up in analysis and creating new tools to assist your clients. This often includes lots of internal conversations with people inside your own organisation, in your industry and with your partners. The MOST important conversation you can have however is with a client, existing or potential. As Aaron Levie CEO of Box put’s it;
“You'll learn more in a day talking to customers than a week of brainstorming, a month of watching competitors, or a year of market research."
A question I like to ask my technology clients when I consult with them is: “What is your marketing plan?” My question usually results in a look of confusion, after all, IT has a captive user audience, right? We don’t need to demonstrate unique value to our business teams – they have to use us? Perhaps in 2005 but not anymore. When external vendors leading value proposition is “we are not your internal IT team” every internal IT person should be concerned. Business units want to get to done as quickly as they can and often, right or wrong, IT is seen as the department of ‘no’ rather than the department of ‘let’s go’.
Mobile smart devices are disrupting the status quo across a number of industries in ways that incumbents have not fully appreciated or have not moved quickly enough to adjust their business models to withstand disruptive competitors leveraging mobility as a means to improve customer engagement, gain market share and/or improve operational excellence.
An app had already been rushed out but only provided rudimentary functionality. The Marketing Department and HR organisation were not ecstatic with the results, despite their urgent need, because the app did not ‘pop’ enough. Design is critical for successful uptake of apps by consumers as well as in the enterprise but it is equally important not to confuse form (the device that will be used) and function (the application that hosts the information) with content (layout, information design, rich media etc.).
Microsoft’s response to Apple’s rise and rise was the release Windows Phone 8 and to acquire Nokia, however Microsoft’s global market share of mobile has declined in 2014 to the sub 3% mark (IDC). Microsoft is now touting Windows 10 on all devices as the answer, but is it? More importantly, do you need to win the consumer market to win the Enterprise Market?
The hottest item on the planet at the moment has to be Google Glass, presented at Google I/O in April 2013. However, despite great publicity and media hype, actual use cases and success has come in dribs and drabs. In saying that though, it’s only a matter of time and developers before the possibilities, of which there are many, become actual applications.