How To Tell If Your Industry Is Next

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One view of cross industry strategy is that the only thing happening is the continuing digitization of services. Some industries have been affected more than others. First to ‘go’ was Old News. Once news articles were made available online, the major internet companies, Facebook and Google in particular, extracted a great deal of the value that masthead newspapers used to count as their own.

TV wasn’t far behind. You Tube, Netflix, Hulu and a host of others now regularly produce programming and own an ever growing share of the time eyeballs spend online.

Soon, other industries will be affected. Phone companies, already struggling because of comparison sites are next on the list – as are banks.

It pays to consider the lessons learned from these previously affected industries. They offer insight in to what will befall the next industries to be disrupted.

What have we learned from the digitization of TV, Radio and News?

There are 3 steps to the transition from the old, analogue model and industries which are entirely digitized.

1There is a bad customer experience :

As the Linked In post says, Netflix didn’t destroy TV, adverts and standardized airing times (for example, your soap opera is on at 7PM) caused the damage. AirBnB didn’t destroy the hotel industry, high prices and soulless service did. Telco and banks both impose their own poor customer experiences on customers. The first indicator that an industry is ready for disruption in the digital age is a poor customer experience waiting to be fixed.

2Fragmentation of the value chain :

Digitized markets are characterized by diverse ecosystems containing millions of digital assets. In radio, iTunes is home to literally thousands of streamed radio stations from around the world. Google Play has millions of podcasts on every niche.These digital assets are created by the public and companies previously adjascent to the affected industry. For example, NetFlix now makes it’s own TV shows rather than buying old episodes from ABC or CBS. Fragmented value chains are especially visible in financial services at the moment as Fintech offers complimentary products around the core banking services. Pocketbook now monitors your spending habits and identified missed bills – something your bank never did but which you needed. Acorns allows you to invest the change you get in small transactions providing a use for a few cents here and a few cents there which never existed. These facilities are appearing everywhere you look. Each solves a bad customer experience problem and provides an asset for the ecosystem.

3A tool which personalizes and solves the problem:

The final step in the digitization of an industry is when one or multiple tools appear to consolidate the digital assets that have been created, tying them together in to a personalized solution for customers. In TV, it’s Netflix and YouTube who learn what we watch and like and recommends other things we should consider to keep us watching. In radio, it’s Spotify which does the same. Facebook and Google provide news items that fit our behavioral interests as part of their service to keep us online.

4Bringing it all together

It’s hard for telco and banking to fix their own problems and undermine their existing revenue streams. Like Kodak, aware of the digitization of pictures, they can’t stop selling film and doing things the old way. But their businesses will be affected in the same way Kodak was.

The sectors that will bear the brunt of the next round of changes can be easily identified. Both telecommunications and banking have had significant digital components for some time. Cheap phone plans  and low interest rates on loans are no longer enough to lure users. People expect to be able to engage with both their telco and banks in a slick digital experience.

Now, the final elements of each are being digitized, opening these models to the erosion of their customer ownership and entire business models. In telco, the eSIM or embedded SIM will replace physical SIMs. The technology already exists and is being utilized by Apple in their Apple Watch 3, released in September 2017. In Banking, PSD2 legislation in Europe mandates that banks have to open their services to competitors through APIs within the next 12 months. Consumers will be the ultimate winners of the transition. And the incumbents stand to lose a lot.

If your industry is slowly being digitized, keep an eye on the process customers go through when they use your products. At some stage, it will become digitized in its entirety. At that stage, you can expect to see these three steps undertaken in your industry.

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