Are you going to be the disrupter or the disrupted? That is the unsettling question that channel sales manager at EMC Southern Africa, Claude Schuck, has posed to businesses in a frank and lively interview with TechSmart Business.
It’s a question that organisations – whether they are small, medium or large – are encouraged to ask and answer for themselves, particularly as it seems as though business disruption can and does come out of nowhere. Schuck pointed out that a businesses’ sudden competition likely won’t come from a direction they could have predicted either; rather, it would more likely come from a company they never would have suspected of gobbling up their market share. One example he gives, most pertinent to banking institutions, is the possibility of Apple suddenly deciding to venture into the banking industry, given that they already have a wealth of customer’s information on tap.
What’s your Plan B?
Luckily, there is good news for the CEOs of businesses that are going to bed at night wondering if tomorrow they will have to contend with some unforeseen competitor. Schuck reassures that disruption can be prepared for, at least on an IT business process level. “Businesses need to have a Plan B and Plan C in place for various potential scenarios,” he stressed. This could entail suddenly needing to ramp up their storage and servers capacity, and being able to do so quickly, by, for example, renting an off-site cloud solution.
According to Schuck, it is for this reason that the likes of Amazon’s Web Services make an attractive proposition. The problem, he pointed out, is with control. In a worst case scenario, IT may quickly find their company has made decisions regarding moving data without informing it, particularly when upgrading one’s cloud storage is merely a matter of entering credit card details. However, this can to an extent be answered by IT departments not just having the aforementioned Plan B and Plan C in place in the event of disruption, but also being able to adapt to the business’ new needs within 24 hours.
Big or small, disruption comes to all
Schuck points out that while small businesses may have greater agility to be able to respond to sudden changes more quickly, large businesses often have capital and cash flow that the former lack. That, however, does not mean that enterprises can afford to rest on their laurels, far from it. “Disruption means that enterprises need to have a start- up mentality,” he added. With this in mind, he urged enterprises to create the space and give their people the freedom and a platform to both find and create solutions. Furthermore, he advised that the trend of disruption also requires organisations to engage in future think – to have an idea of where they would like to be in one year, three years and five years’ time. This, he stressed, entails far more than simply increasing its sales year on year. “Whatever the size of the organisation, all need to constantly innovate and challenge themselves and how they can disrupt their business and their market are the kinds of conversations the industry needs to be engaging in,” he concluded. [RN]