A new competitive business landscape, driven by globalisation and technological advancement, is pushing businesses to re-evaluate their operational, price, quality, and client satisfaction metrics. An increasing focus on innovation and cost efficiency makes it imperative for businesses to not only work better, but also faster, getting its products/services into the global market quicker than ever before.
The ability to adapt to the changing environment is crucial for any business looking to stay ahead of its competition. Conventional methods are being challenged and firms that seize the opportunity to adopt better business technologies and outsource to IT firms like Acora, will find the going easy.
The conventional tools of strategic analysis – SWOT, Porter’s Five Industry Forces, Generic Strategies, barriers to entry and others – were the work of economists who saw strategy development as crucial to business growth. In a new landscape, strategy is still important, but it has to be aligned to changing technologies and mindsets. More economies are looking at privatisation as a means of driving growth, development and technological convergence among industries (healthcare and computing, for example) is unsettling normal industry structures.
The boundary between local and global businesses is small, thanks to rapidly developing technology and the Internet. Any business has to be responsive to the needs of the local market while playing to global standards. Businesses looking to make an impact must start with a new approach:
The need for IT outsourcing
Businesses focused on providing quality services at better costs are looking to IT outsourcing firms to provide a competitive advantage. A business might lack the skills and resources in-house to keep up with new technology, but for an IT service company such as Acora, few problems are new to them. A patient would rather see an experienced doctor, the same is true when it comes to placing a business in the hands of a professional.
In addition to the visible cost cutting benefits, IT outsourcing has the added advantage of reducing risk for a business. Any business investment comes with a level of risk. Outsourcing providers take on the risks inherent with technology (regulation, security, financial costs, rapid changes and compliance issues) and are much better at ensuring the client enjoys high quality services without any worrying.
With the pressure of adapting and keeping IT infrastructure running taken out of their hands, businesses can focus on their core competencies and ensure resources are used wisely.
Innovation is a big element of staying competitive. For a long time, however, innovation was focused on the product and the processes entailed in production. With a changing landscape, the focus has shifted to innovating the business model. Traditional structures that emphasised an adherence to strict processes – hierarchy of authority – are being replaced by ‘flatter’ structures where employees at every level can contribute to innovation. Continuous improvement is a workplace mantra meant to ensure all products are continually developed to meet changing consumer demands.
Collaborative knowledge sourcing
Social media-style platforms are breaking the mold of traditional knowledge bases and making it easier for businesses to source for ideas from the wider public. Social media is almost a necessity for any consumer-facing business. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram have made it easier to not just communicate with consumers, but also respond to queries/issues and advertise to a wider market. Many online services now incorporate a social element that offers an opportunity to put a human side to business.
As a source of knowledge, social platforms are giving businesses a chance to share knowledge through blogs and websites. Information is shared as ‘how to’ articles, promotional content, interesting videos, online competitions, and special offers. Business marketers can source consumer information on social platforms they wouldn’t ordinarily get, while using the platforms to generate sales leads and encourage more engagement with the business.
There is zero margin for error when it comes to securing business information. The consequences of information leaks and security breaches can mean the end of business operations. The challenge for security specialists within the business is to create and implement security policies that leave no room for compromise. Also high on the list of priorities for such specialists is the need to communicate with top management the importance of tying information security to the broader business objectives.
Consumers and users of information are alert to the importance of security, which is forcing businesses to adopt security standards and frameworks, such as those supported by ITIL, as proof of compliance. Any business willing to adopt independent security standards is committed to ensuring business and customer data is kept safe.
At the core of many shifts in the new business landscape is technology. Whether it’s developing a new customer interface or ensuring workplace mobility, technology will continue to provide a competitive advantage to those that make use of established IT service providers.