By Adam Fraser.
I wrote last week about lessons from my first 10 episodes as a podcaster; my main business observation related to the challenge enterprises face across all aspects of social, digital and marketing technology in managing change.
This week I attended the excellent OptusVision conference in Sydney. At this thought leadership event, a range of leading global speakers discussed a number of aspects of the future of business, and Optus released their Future of Business Report 2015. You should absolutely read the report but if you want a spoiler from the 44 pages it is simply this. Change readiness is a driver of performance and competitive advantage, yet Australian businesses are generally not “change ready” with only 23% highly prepared for change.
An overarching stat showed that 1 in 3 change programmes in Australia fail. Something has to give here because as the conference speakers made very clear, change is inevitable, happening at a rate of knots and will happen whether you like it or not (driven by the consumer).
A few examples and sound-bites from the conference:
- John Paitaridis from Optus Business:
- “A few years ago mobile first and cloud first were buzzwords. Now they’re table stakes”
- 14m Australians use Facebook and 4 out of 5 Australian professionals use LinkedIn
- Australians spend an average of 2 hours 4 minutes a day on social media
- By 2020 there will be 50bn connected objects linked together – the Internet of Things is coming soon
- Businesses need to be at the intersection of connected, engaged and trusted
- Bernie Brookes, prior CEO of Myer, talked about numerous global examples of digital reinventing the retail experience
- David Rowan from Wired Magazine UK gave example after example of structural, industry changing disruptors; in some cases the disruptors are now disrupting themselves:
- Elon Musk at Tesla now seems to be more interested in power storage and supply than the car itself
- 3D printers are already facing their own disruption headwinds
- European car companies supporting car free days and moving into car sharing business models
- Book shops re-inventing as curators
- Wired Magazine itself moving into consulting and conferences
- Some incredible advances in driverless cars, machine learning and artificial intelligence which would blow your mind
- A great slide simply stating “Offline is over”
- [obligatory references, of course, to Uber and AirBNB]
- Daniel Bergan from Westpac talked about banking’s 200 year evolution and 5 year revolution, with the transformational impact this is having on how Westpac talk to their customers
- Peter Wataman from Flight Centre talked about the changing relationship between IT and the business and the new critical driver being “above the line” customer engagement related projects
If you were playing word bingo with the words innovation or disruption you would have been calling “house” every 20 minutes or so.
Some of the changes coming via big data, algorithms, machine learning and driverless cars will have enormous cultural and societal ramifications, the magnitude of which I don’t think any of us have quite got our heads around. The future of work and society as a whole look very different and this may not be a smooth journey.
What does this all mean for marketing and social media? For one it puts in perspective the changes in these area – massive as they are, the same thematics impacting media (and hence marketing) are impacting society wide (including government). Beyond this, if marketers don’t grasp the nettle and embrace the shifts that are occurring then ineffectiveness and irrelevance awaits.
None of us particularly like change – as the Optus report again shows – but the invisible hand of the market is going to force change whether we like it or not. Either into reinvention or obsolescence.
As quoted in the report:
“If you’re not ready for change, then growth is guaranteed not to happen. Your business has a life expectancy of about 5 years.”
Strong, but very relevant, words.