Technology as a key driver of sustainable and scalable growth
Fundamentally, if you look at the way technology is consumed in an organization, it has changed dramatically. In the good old days, technologies were enablers to the industry and the philosophy adopted by businesses was always to use technology to do the business better. The big change that we are seeing now is in the business itself. So entrepreneurs have to understand the elements of technologies and how they will fundamentally change the way operate as a business.
Case in point, if we were to look at the education segment – we have Byjus and Coursera that are completely changing the way we consume education. Another example would be the hotel industry where originally from setting up large expensive hotel chains, we now have Airbnb that has suddenly changed the model overnight. I remember a very old article written by Mohan Biswani, this was a late 90’s or early 2000 that talked about understanding how the film industry works. The beauty of the film industry is that to make a movie – a set of individuals come together. So the end product is an outcome of the set of people who come together for delivering a customer experience forecasted by the developer and very similar to this is how all businesses will change.
If we look at technology today, say we were to travel from point A to point B, we have an Ola come in and we have a taxi driver who is an independent, a payment gateway, to a service provider – each of them come separately to provide you the travel experience. So, for you owning a taxi, standing at a stand, trying to find a customer completely gets changed and that is what I mean when I say that technology is becoming business. Taking this example in mind, entrepreneurs need to really understand what is going on in their environment and when is the next tsunami going to come and from where. If entrepreneurs are not aware of this and not sure of this, then they have a problem at hand.
Building technology driven organizations:
Entrepreneur need to understand that: you don’t build a technological driven organization – you become the technology. So when a business is technology driven, it is still assumed that you are going to use it and that means that you are not going to change the way you do business. It means only a specific process or transaction will become better. That still is an entrepreneur legacy of thinking. This translate to buying an ERP or a bettering a supply chain system or a CRM product will be the same process with the same customer and same product and same delivery but slightly better.
Take the payments system for example, with Block chain coming in, the relevance of banks may become an issue. So it is important that entrepreneurs really think about what in their business is going on and what will come and that may make the business the current shape and form completely irrelevant.
Entrepreneurs need to change their mindset to thinking what their customers will be able to consume in the future and work towards catering that need. One must think 3-5 years in advance if one wants to stay relevant and work around how one can keep personalizing your services. This is because customers want standardized and also personalized experiences. Take for example Starbucks. If you go to a Starbucks outlet, you will experience consistent services but they personalize it by calling out your name and it is these initiatives that serve as a differentiating factor to customers.
Challenges with technology
Entrepreneurs need to be aware of what tsunami will rock your industry and unfortunately the answer is not going to come from your industry.
Going to entrepreneurs from the same industry is probably the worst place to go and ask for a question because they all will be sailing and sinking in the same boat hoping for it to survive. So entrepreneurs need to go out, stretch their imagination and find forums such as the ASCENT Foundation. Here, through peer to peer connectivity and through the concepts of Trust Groups, entrepreneurs can share almost anything and it allows you to understand how changes are impacted a specific industry.
Sometimes changes come for specific industries much earlier than the one you are in. Here entrepreneurs have the luxury of having to see someone else going through the changes, pain and transformation. Here is when entrepreneurs should think that “If this were to happen to my customers space or my partner’s space, what changes are going to come in and how could it impact my business?” Therefore entrepreneurs are now forced to look at a new product, a new market, a new vehicle which they will never be able to take in isolation. This is the power of Trust Groups.
Tips for entrepreneurs leveraging new age technology
Don’t leverage technology – be the technology. I think we will be a very lucky generation to see in our lifetime a humongous amount of change happening. We have completely changed the way we communicate, travel, transport, eat, produce and this will continue to change as human beings interact. So you as an entrepreneur, have a great place to be in because you really can think completely different with a multiplier effect.
Technology brings to you that rare realm of possibility of change before it has happened. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to figure out what is relevant technology and understanding the elements of relevant technology. Citing another example, if you look around at arm forces, they come originally as spare parts. For people who are out on the field and these spare parts need to be shipped to be able to get the tank backup running. In the case of 3D printing, the printer can print the spare parts then and there. Just look at the phenomenal efficiency it creates for everyone.
So there are elements that we never thought about. Another example would be the paper industry. Paper industries are going out of business because now you consume a lot of media on devices and hence you don’t print. If you don’t print, what is the need for cutting the trees and getting newspapers out?
Ensuring end to end security solutions
Entrepreneurs think of security on two counts:
- Driven by fear that something bad may happen and therefore one needs to invest in security
- The Government regulations
I would like to think security in a different way wherein security is like having a break in the car. The idea of having a break in the car is not to slow the car down. It is basically to give the driver the comfort of thinking that you can drive the car as fast as possible because you know that the break is there to save you. Take this at the context for implementing technology and see how you can embrace machine learning, deep learning or significant technologies that are going to become a part and parcel of who you are. Go ahead and embrace the little revolution and these are the vehicles through which you can ensure that it stays secure.
In the paper world there is nothing that you can do except for putting a lock and key and station guards around your assets and it would be very hard for someone to come and steal your ID. But in the digital world, like it or not, it’s fairly easy. So how do you as an organization on the one hand embrace technology to change and become a technology lead organization at the same time? Just remember, there are 3 elements of security that need to work together:
- The people
- The process and
- The technology
Best practices to follow in cases of a breach in security
First is to that you have breached. There are only 2 types of securities:
- Wherein companies that have been breached and that they don’t know that they have breached. Here the first problem is that entrepreneurs need to figure a way out in the organization through various routes say sensor capability or monitoring capability to be able to figure out if your breach happens.
- Once you have a breach, entrepreneurs must have the ability to respond to the breach. It’s almost like if you have a fire, you know the 5 things you need to do. Similar to a security breach, you should have a response plan such as: who do you call, what do you do, how do you quarantine, how do you respond, how do you mitigate etc. Hopefully, after everything is done and when you are out of it the problem, one must take time out to get to the root cause and find out what broke and what could you have done and prevent similar situations
So the thinking in the security domain has changed a lot. Yes, there is the prevention aspect and with that you also have the hygiene elements so that nothing is left open to the degree that someone can use it. Let us assume that in spite of all of these elements you still get breached – one must make continuously efforts in finding the problem and that will help get the level of security in place.
Source – Pankit Desai, ASCENT Foundation member and Founder and Co-CEO at SEQURETEK