“Businesses used to suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Today they suffer from COMO (Certainty of Missing Out).”
These are the words Sue Unerman (our Chief Transformation Officer) has used previously to highlight a real problem for organisations today – that there is so much social and technological change going on around us, that it’s impossible to keep up to date with every new development. And this idea of COMO was at the heart of an event I co-hosted at London Tech Week.
From AI and big data, to an openness to fail and an agile workplace culture, transformation comes from embracing the latest technologies, not ignoring them. Sir Martin Sorrell, who opened proceedings, said that technological change is inevitable, but our responses to it aren’t.
Change is good.
The Fearsome Five didn’t fear the future
Even the biggest companies didn’t get to where they were by staying the same.
The “Fearsome Five”, the five most valuable brands in the world according to BrandZ: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, all have one thing in common. They are technology companies with a vision, open to failing fast in favour of a longer-term vision.
Microsoft wasn’t always seen favourably though. They had to rediscover their mojo after a shaky 2000s, which saw the company struggle to replicate the popularity of Windows XP.
Google are where they are now because they were prepared to experiment – yes, the Google+ didn’t quite work out and Google Glass came a few years too early, but they were still prepared to push the envelope. Facebook have now completely shifted their focus to video content, because they saw an opportunity in shifting consumer behaviour. Is it any coincidence that these two brands now own made up 89% of all digital advertising growth last year?
Transformative trends – the key players
These tech giants have also embraced some of the latest technology innovations and trends, remaining the disruptor rather than the disrupted.
We heard from Chris Taylor, CIO of the Daily Telegraph, on tech trends and the importance of cloud computing in a business: “You should have a cloud-first strategy… cloud is the foundation of all technology in business. Big data and Virtual Reality would be nothing with cloud computing.”
And it is this big data, certainly, that allows big tech companies to greater analyse the behaviour of its customers, consumers or users and stay one step ahead of the curve.
Artificial Intelligence is also certainly one of the more interesting disruptors of our time – you only need to take a look at Amazon Alexa and Google Home to know that AI is quickly becoming mainstream and is an idea that’s here to stay.
Agility from the top down
Keeping up with the latest technologies and developments, while reflecting and predicting the shifting patterns of consumers, ensures a healthy, growing company.
Now, new tech entries into BrandZ’s top 100 valuable brands in the world list include YouTube, Salesforce, Netflix and Snapchat. They might not be challenging the “Fearsome Five” anytime soon, but they’ve been agile and moved with the times, making huge gains in the process.
And this sense of agility needs to be reflected within your work culture for everyone, not just the c-suite. There’s no set of rules on culture and it doesn’t happen overnight – there’s no ‘culture manifesto’ for every company! It grows in a business over time.
It was the Dalai Lama, after all, who said change comes from within…
Don’t fear disruption
There’s no secret formula for making your business completely disruption-proof, but a failure to listen, to think, to act and to react could be the difference between a company that grows and a company that doesn’t.
Disruption is a healthy thing. It challenges the status quo and challenges businesses to think twice and think ahead. But you don’t want to see your business model destroyed by your myopia in the face of unexpected advancements.
Don’t fear what’s out there – make that change!