By Taylor King, Published on October 6, 2015
Today, the conversation is not about if but when. It’s not about whether, but which one.
Through digitalization, we have become more closely connected than ever before. The digital economy is no longer a buzzword – it’s our reality. In Julia Caruso’s recent blog, How the Digital Economy is Defining an Entire Generation, she states, “Millennials do not see this distinction. To us, it’s just the economy. Everything we do happens in the abstract digital economy – we shop digitally, get our news digitally, communicate digitally, and take pictures digitally. In fact, the things that we don’t do digitally are few and far between.”
It is no longer about the Six Degrees of Separation, but rather the one or two mutual connections that can connect 7 billion people in this world. At the same time, we are accomplishing milestone advancements at history-making rates. It feels like there have been more technological advancements in the last ten years than in the last 200. With this kind of instant global access and connection to the human race, technology is being judged and reviewed by the world in real time. And we are the beneficiary.
Disruption: The new norm
So let’s talk about disruption. Just like the iPhone, today’s technology improves incrementally until a major disruption. We’re trained to expect this. Apple sets the bar: The 4, 4s, 5, 5s, and then, BOOM, the 6. And the cycle repeats. It’s progressive and predictable.
Other types of disruptions are, well, more disruptive. Consider how the CD virtually eliminated vinyl records (save for a few die hard audiophiles), only to turn around and be replaced by iPods and MP3s, which in turn were replaced by streaming music.Those four disruptions took barely a decade.
This same type of disruption is taking place at every level of our personal and business lives. Our appetite for innovation is so voracious that we are no longer shocked when new technology disrupts a line of business – let alone an entire industry. From the Uber-ization of the transportation industry to cloud technology disrupting traditional on-premise ERP, we are at the point where we expect technology to make rippling impacts on everything that is familiar to us. For traditional markets, companies, and people, this can mean Game Over. Yet for a Millennial, it’s just another day at the office.
If disruption is the new norm, what does that mean for the future of business? As Clayton Christensen once stated, “One of the most consistent patterns in business is the failure of leading companies to stay at the top of their industries when technologies or markets change.” Although this is an unsettling thought, it’s really an eye-opening statement: Adapt or die. What hits home to the customer in the world of disruptive technology? The answer is all too obvious: value.
Defining “value” for the new norm
Because social media puts us directly in touch with real people rather than the promotional voice of companies, as Millennials we engage with brands very differently than previous generations. We are experts at smelling the difference between advertising and real value. We look for honesty, conscience, integrity, and sustainability. And we don’t have to settle for anything less, because this has become the cost of success. To be successful in today’s economy, value is king.
Rachel Palekar mentions in her blog, From Behind the Scenes to MVP: How Brands Get Noticed in This Millennial, Digital World, “In an outcome-driven world, the connection between the service and the value received has never been more important.” Organizations are unconsciously playing a larger role in customers’ lives than ever before. For global leaders such as SAP, the ability to communicate their value to the world is not just an imperative – it’s a critical part of their corporate DNA.
The companies that are able to show the greatest value are the ones that develop disruptive innovation, then drive that value down to the final end user. Companies like SAP don’t just stop at their first customer; they continue to drive it down through every customer’s customer until the final person in the value chain is reached. Whether it be the fan, the student, the traveler, or the patient, it’s a commitment to affecting the core of people’s everyday lives.
So whether you’re washing your face with a Unilever product or cheering on your NFL Fantasy Football team, watch these videos to see how SAP Service and Support has affected consumers and fans around the world like you.
When disruption becomes the new norm we won’t be disrupting anymore, we’ll just be expecting the next new thing.