7 Top Experts advise how to embrace the challenge of being digitally disrupted
Do you perceive the word “disruption” as a big threat to your business? Have you ever feared the emergence of newer technology in the current marketplace impacting your existing products and services offered?
Many of us often interpret disruption as something negative and a danger to the survival of our businesses.
However, it only is a threat if you are not aware of how to embrace the challenge of being disrupted. Knowing how to embrace digital transformation will eventually benefit you to stand your ground and still be able to compete, no matter how it continues to advance in this era.
To understand how to embrace the changes that come with digital transformation, we have asked some Top Experts and Real Time Business Owners the following questions:
- What is your #1 tip on how entrepreneurs can embrace the challenge disruption and digital transformation in the age of technology and artificial intelligence?
- Which sector do you think is the most vulnerable and why?
Read on to see their amazing quick insights
Dr. Natalia Wiechowski is an award winning Personal Branding Expert, a bi-lingual (English/German) International Key-Note Speaker. Dr. of Philosophy, Social scientist & certified digital marketing professional with 14+ years’ experience in human behaviour & social relationships. She is an Official Member of the Forbes Coach Council and has been awarded the title of the “LinkedIn Marketing Unicorn”
“Focus on the Human Factor!” As much as we live in a technologically advanced world, there are certain things that technologically will never replace. My #1 Tip for entrepreneurs is to focus on creating and offering services that are irreplaceable by AI or technology or to say at least not in the very near future. This surely includes compassion, real human connection, genuine love and care, listening with intent and emotional support to name a few. A business is primarily driven by clients, who happen to be human, and not technology–and human’s have emotional needs. Focus on those and you will stay in business.
This also means that businesses that require little to no “human” or “soft” skill need to be on the watch out.”
Edith N. Nordmann has been awarded “Women of the Decade in Law & Social change” by the Women Economic Forum (2017). She is an experienced corporate and commercial litigator, specialized in cross border business transactions taking into consideration not only the different legal systems but also being acquainted with the various cultural differences that can make or break a deal. As a public speaker she has shared this knowledge on various international conferences.
Be ready and prepared! This does not sound very inspirational but it should be. On top of that don’t let yourself be bedazzled by exciting presentations of software that commit to solve all your digital problems. Ensure that you do your research first and understand your end objectives. Before hiring experts or procuring software that helps you integrate AI into your business, conduct a test first and see if it actually aligns with your business objectives. Many software companies present mind-blowing presentations of software solutions that are not yet working properly. So, be open-minded but also check it in real life.
One of the most vulnerable sectors to disruption is tax followed by audit, since a lot of software that can easily automate the process exist in the market.. For example in the Netherlands, the Dutch Tax Authorities send the Income tax declaration forms to every individual already pre filled-in at the bottom with the amount to be paid. If there are no changes with respect to your personal situation compared to the previous year, you don’t do anything and your Income tax declaration gets final and you pay the indicated amount.
Corporate tax however still works the old-fashioned way; but this too will eventually be automated. An experiment on an automated processes by big companies to be checked and authorized by the Dutch Tax Authorities upfront in order to get a final tax declaration from the company itself which would directly be authorized by the Tax Authorities without further review has thus far failed, but eventually a solution will be found.
Some other countries are already preparing the possibility for the Tax Authorities to build an API directly into a company’s own ERP system to know directly what the actual profits of the firm are. The whole automation process in the Tax and audit sphere in particular will mean less workforce required. Good on the business owners end but also means they must be technologically aware.
Dr Dimitri is a visionary corporate consultant with over 40 years of experience in General Management, Management Directorship, Chairing of Boards and Consulting in big companies and organizations. His extensive international experience in Europe, Asia and the Americas has earned him the trust of renowned brands. He is also a professor in Geopolitics of energy.
Go with Digital Literacy! Turning a blind eye to the reality of digital advancement is not going to get you anywhere. You cannot simply pretend it is not going to impact your business. What you can do is ensure that your business processes are integrated with digital tools, and that processes are automated. But before you do that you must ensure that each and every member, employee and stakeholder of your company is well educated on the digital side. Knowing what process can be automated may sound like a big hassle but eventually pays off, so you can ensure you focus on where your business is going rather than keeping your eyes fixed on managing your people. I say manage your processes and in this era, they can very well be automated.
This may come as a big challenge to the manufacturing sector though because of the constant change right from customer needs to design and manufacturing methods to supply chain processes. Staying digitally literate would enable you to stay ahead with the trend.
With a 30-year career, Ed worked for large multi-office Trust Groups, such as the Trident Trust Group, the Intertrust Group, and the Amicorp Group, as well as a few smaller Groups. Ed has served as the senior managing director of branch offices and trustee companies in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. He was also Head of Trust Services for both the Amicorp Group and the T&F Tax and Finance Group. In recent times, Ed has expanded the services that OCSL offers and has also formed a subsidiary a company called US Trust Advisory Services LLC, which delivers legal and tax advice to US trusts and US corporate entities.
“Stay Alert and calculate the reward! Be aware of new technology that might be beneficial for your company. However, not everything that comes into the market will work for you. I consider making sure you can afford the technology, above knowing if you can implement it. You should also know how much of an impact it can have on your revenue. It would not make sense to throw out money for technology that does not give you any benefit. I am not discouraging from implementing new technology, but find solutions that are practical for you in the long run. The benefits have to outweigh the costs in both the short-term and the long-term.
Small service companies are among the most vulnerable as they often work on tight margins and don’t have the means for significant capital investment, in the assumption that technological change requires that kind of investment. I would say look at ways to increase your profit margins and join a network that already uses technology.
Widely considered a thought leader in customer experience across all consumer sectors, Martin is a highly experienced Chairman, Board Advisor and NED. He also sits on the KPMG/IPSOS Retail Think Tank. Selling online since 1997, he has been involved in multi-channel retailing for over 30 years. A true multi-channel player, he has had P&L responsibility and ownership of direct mail, e-commerce, mobile & call centre channels for a number of brands including Ted Baker, Harrods, Burberry, Pentland brands and Intersport.
You have to be customer centric in all that you do! That means understanding that being a customer first business touches every aspect of the value chain of the organisation. From product/service to technology, from data to marketing, from the physical environment of your business to the digital one and to the customers last mile experience. You will most likely never be able to keep up with the disruptors and therefore you need to stay as close to your existing customer base as possible and continually give them reasons to come back. Fantastic customer experience and service can be a real differentiator even in the face of disruptive led brands.
All consumer sectors are being disrupted. Arguably retail has been the most disrupted to date by Amazon, Alibaba and a host of other disruptive retail propositions. I believe the one that will go through the most disruption in the next few years is the Automotive sector. Not because we’re all going to be traveling in autonomous vehicles (Albeit that is coming in the future). But due to the fact that the car industry will be disintermediated. In other words, the consumer is able to bypass the car dealer and go directly to the manufacturer, as is increasingly the case in the automotive industry. Disruptive new brands such as Rockar empower Jaguar Land Rover to open direct to consumer showrooms as well as their own digital car outlets. These outlets are in shopping centres. This is a channel strategy that was first adopted by Tesla. It democratises the car buying experience, it takes the brand to the customer rather than the other way around. It makes it accessible to anyone who wants to experience it.
Shikha Syal is a CAP Stone Research Certified Expert and Blue Ocean Strategist. With her in-depth knowledge on the GCC and UAE market she enables clients to gain a better, practical understanding of the market and advises business on optimizing the financial performance of a company. From Start Ups to multi-nationals, she has a rich portfolio. She is also leading various position on national level projects and features regularly on ADAM Global Networks Webinars and meetings as a Speaker. Shikha is also an MBA Gold Medallist from SP Jain , Asia Top ranked University and # 4 in the world for MBA.
Understand how automation works! The challenge of being disrupted can only be tackled with adequate knowledge in the technological advancements and automation in respective fields. But knowledge is not enough. Hereafter, we need to understand the implication of the same in our business and have a detailed analysis of its pros and cons. Not every business can accommodate artificial intelligence. It has to be feasible and validated by relevant return on the expenditure.
The sector which is most vulnerable to disruption is job shops. Especially the manufacturing sector of low variety and high volume. This can accommodate artificial intelligence on a single assembly line.
Chartered Accountant (ACA) – TEP – Trust,
Managing Partner Studio Paci, Milan, Italy
Dottore Commercialista (Italian Chartered Accountant) and Revisore Contabile (Auditor), he deals with domestic and foreign clients on ordinary and extraordinary tax, accounting and corporate matters.
He is specialized in trust and estate planning and in Family business.
Change your Business Strategy! In a marketplace with rapid digital transformation, especially with artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis, it is essential for professional firms that want to remain competitive to change their business strategy. This transformation will replace many data entry works or in general repetitive jobs, like accounting, auditing, and payroll, that will be the most vulnerable services in our sector.
For example, since January 2019, Italy introduced mandatory electronic invoicing (e-invoicing in a specific XML format) for private businesses. This will lead, within a short period of time, to the non-use of the people who were occupied until now in the manual entry of the documents.
The challenge of the professional firms will be to use the resources released from the activities that will become automated, in the area of specialized services that are not easily replaceable by machines, such as those concerning creativity, very specialized skills and in general on value-added advisory.
In any case, above all, the human and trust relationship with clients and personal contacts (e.g. networks) will become even more important than today.
Top Voice of Job Seekers & Networking Expert
Sohaib is a internationally seasoned HR Consultant (Germany, UK, China, Pakistan and UAE) with close to a decade of success in infusing efficiency into the HR operations, from Policy Formulation and Implementation to the ideation and Development of HR based software programs to performing the core HR functions of Recruitment, Selection, Training, Development and Performance Evaluation. He is also a motivational speaker at heart and a trainer who is primarily branded for outstanding creative solutions to enhance organizational efficiency and as well developing and unleashing human behavioral potential.
“Drive a diversified Tech Culture with Millenials on Board!” In this age of technology when everything is getting digitized and humans are more addicted to a routine of robotics, I believe service firms need to consider having Millennial’s on board and focus more of creating a culture of “tech diversity”. We did speak a lot about cultural diversity in the last decade but today it the importance or more emphasis is given to “tech culture”. Millennial’s on the other hand would be the great source and asset for the service firms to embrace, invest and prosper in and with Artificial Intelligence Technology.
The most vulnerable could be education sector, in my opinion. It is very difficult to understand the behavior of students and young’s of that age. We have seen little kids becoming programmer, game developers, app developers and they play so well with the technology and algorithms. So it might be a challenger for AI that how it can embrace the ever change and robust student minds. We definitely need a human interaction here and not just AI which may not teach them the emotional, love and caring aspects of life and daily routines.