For decades, many Australian business sectors have been asleep at the wheel – underinvesting in digital technology, employee skills and strategic thinking. Which sectors? They’re the ones people complain about on Twitter and Facebook – retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and financial services. And you can add utilities into that list (but that’s a subject for a future post).
In many ways this is what we’d expect. In the industrial era – business was designed to maximise the profits from investment and expenditure – and that’s what they were doing. We call it creating “shareholder value”. But times are changing. We are no longer living in a world where industrial era business models rule. They are the dinosaurs of the 21st century and those companies and industries that don’t look to reinvent their business models will not only face declining revenues – they’ll risk disappearing altogether.
Don’t think it can happen to you? So did Kodak.
When Google created their own financial services division, they fired a shot across the bow of the slow moving personal lending businesses in the UK. What Google understands is speed to market – and disruption. And remember, they have the inside view of what we search for, what we click on and how long we stay there. The shift to digital – the massive transformation in the way that we think, shop and live has largely been driven by access to Google’s services – and financial services is just the next step in a long journey for them.
But it’s not just global internet giants who will disrupt the market. Smaller, agile players are entering the market – rethinking the old business models and out-flanking them. Take a look at SocietyOne. Connecting borrowers and investors in a peer-to-peer fashion SocietyOne takes “crowdfunding” to a new, more knowable level. It’s designed to match investors and borrowers in an interest rate/risk online pitch-off. Check out their introductory video. Looks like no bank that I know. And that’s the point.