How often does your business stand out from the competition? Is your business an industry leader or just one among dozens or even hundreds in your industry? Does your leadership team dream of being the Google, Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon of your industry? I read a recent post about the banking industry that offered an interesting perspective. Perhaps, there’s an easy way to accomplish this: Think like a tech company.
“Technology companies are forcing the evolution of the banking industry, compelling traditional financial institutions to emulate [tech firms’] attributes.” Ashley Veasey, Barclays Africa Group CIO, explained, “Banks need to start thinking and working like technology companies, and use innovative thinking and big data to better understand their customers.”
As YOUR business grows, how much time, budget, and strategic planning are applied toward your customer data, or in the lingo of tech companies, big data? Wikipedia defines big data as “Data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, and information privacy. The term often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics or other certain advanced methods to extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. Accuracy in big data may lead to more confident decision-making. And better decisions can mean greater operational efficiency, cost reduction, and reduced risk.”
Here are some statistics that may convince you to understand your data, according to Forbes columnist Bernard Marr:
 This year, over 1.4 billion smartphones will be shipped – all packed with sensors capable of collecting all kinds of data, not to mention the data that users created themselves.
 By 2020, there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, all developed to collect, analyze, and share data.
 By 2020, at least 33 percent of all data will pass through the cloud (a network of servers connected over the Internet).
 For a typical Fortune 1000 company, just a 10 percent increase in data accessibility will result in more than $65 million additional net income.
 At the moment, less than 0.5 percent of all data is ever analyzed and used.
How much strategic planning is applied toward the process of innovative thinking to better understand your customers? According to Wikipedia, “Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies.”
If your business strives to stay ahead of the competition – no matter the industry – you should start thinking like a tech company. With all the screens available to customers, i.e., desktops, laptops, and smartphones, and all the communication vehicles available for outreach, i.e., email and texts, no one is ever truly unplugged. This means that your business should consider all the ways that customers can connect and engage with your business.
As these connections happen, does your business capture customer data in a secure manner? How many systems are in place to safeguard the data? What happens if a data breach happens? What are the procedures to alert customers and the media?
So let’s return to the banking industry. To quote Alistair Peterson, Frost & Sullivan Africa Director of Growth Implementation Solutions, “Traditional banks cannot survive without becoming agile in their ability to develop customer experiences that surprise and delight through the use of various technologies. It is called the omni-channel experience, and traditional banks need to be at the vanguard or these new technologies.”
Your business doesn’t have to think like a bank, but I strongly recommend that you consider technology industry attributes. Your business longevity could be at stake.
Inspiration for this post:
“Banks Must Think Like Tech Companies”
“Big Data: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read”
Image Credit: Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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