Written by Tiago Bruno
Every industry has their own standards, their rules, the way things are done. Why? Because it’s done that way. These unofficial guidelines gradually and slowly develop and evolve over time, as demands change and emerge. Then, once in a while, something comes along to shake things up. A huge seismic shift all at once, when one business dares to do things differently.
Uber has dramatically changed the way we call a cab. The customer-focused app disrupted the traditional way cab companies operate and replaced the old-fashioned call and book service with an app to match drivers with passengers anytime, anywhere, to get them from A to B. The rest of the industry needs to catch up.
Spotify has done the same within the music industry. Last year, live streaming of music overtook sold records for the first time, ever. The monthly subscription service provides listeners with an endless stream of music, listen to whatever, wherever, to any device. Bands and artists are paid directly every time their music is played. That rocked the record companies as they lost their hold on the industry, leaving them with two choices: resist the shift or move with it.
Google’s self-driving car is another example. This ground-breaking development could have huge implications for the industry. Will we see a gradual shift of the driving assurance, a movement of responsibility from the insurance companies towards the car manufacturers?
There are dozens of examples and case scenarios of companies who are disrupting the long-established standards. They are shedding the confines of the regular and the normal, and stripping off the conformity. They are the rule-breakers, the ground-shakers, the disruptive thinkers. They are not only breaking the old standards, they are making the new ones.
In the beginning, these companies are misfits, outsiders, funny little creatures building air castles in the sky. They might be ridiculed or ostracised by their industry, but they are bucking the trend by taking industry standards and standing them on their head. They offer an alternative solution and the long-established companies in an industry might not like it.
Take Netflix for example, until then, Blockbuster dominated. Blockbuster laughed at Netflix’s guys when they dared to be different and offer an alternative solution: a paid monthly fee to access all the content. Who goes to a video store anymore?
Who designed those standards? Who said they are ‘The Standards’?
Every player in a market is trying to do the exact same thing: to satisfy and meet customer expectations; to provide solutions to problems, and to provide their service better than their competitors.
But what does the customer want? Knowing what the customer wants is the easy part. We can work this out through research and business analysis. The tricky part is finding out how they want it. If a business wants music, should we sell them CDs or should we implement a music streaming solution? A CD only gives you music at one location for a fixed duration. A music streaming solution provides you with limitless music at multiple locations, constantly, what you want to hear, whenever you want to hear it. Which option is more versatile and which option is the best fit to how the business works?
And there it is, that’s the difference between well-established players with long-established standards and those new thinkers selling their cloud castles. We want solutions that are far-reaching, accessible anywhere and always working together. Which is why cloud-based technologies are changing the way we work and live. At the end of the day, everything is now cloud based so their castles don’t look quite so silly anymore.
At Embridge, we think of ourselves as different. We stand apart and play our gigs offbeat from other companies. Not just in how we deliver our services in the Unit4 Business World (Agresso) industry, but how, within an industry, we are developing, growing and changing. We are working on new trends and setting standards.
We dare to ask ‘why?’, or even, ‘why not?’. We are the 90s grunge that in 48 hours jeopardised a 10 year standard of heavy metal. We are the DivX format that disrupted the video stream. We are the 14-year-old teen that finds cable TV old and obsolete.
We do this so that we can satisfy and meet the needs of our customers. Their needs constantly change so our approach needs to be adaptable, too. There are no one-size fits all as each business has different requirements from their systems. We think that anything is possible. We might ask ourselves ‘Why on Earth would you want to connect Agresso to the coffee machine?’ but our answer would be ‘I don’t know why, but let me try it and see!’ The internet of things (IOT) could make this a very real possibility, and if something works and it offers a solution to a problem, it ultimately can make your business better.