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May 16, 2012

When it comes from almost nowhere, will you still see it?

Posted by Anand Prasad Arkalgud (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:46 AM


Ashok Vemuri, Head of Americas and Global Head of Manufacturing, and Engineering Services, Infosys was recently quoted in Supply & Demand Chain Executive saying "If you look at some of the industries that make up the manufacturing sector--mining or metals or chemicals--these have traditionally stayed away from large technology spends." "But now, they're actually enforcing the consumption of technology into their core manufacturing processes--beyond customer service of a call center, for example. So there's a whole ecosystem that is coming together as a result of technology--whether it's mobility, digital marketing or supply chain optimization." You can read the whole article here: http://www.sdcexec.com/article/10714530/infosys-targets-us-manufacturing-resurgence-factors.

This, I believe, is driven by the fact that organizations cannot continue to live isolated in the belief that all the world is what they see in their sector or their product space or sub-segments, even - a two lane highway to draw an analogy- with a clear view of what's behind and what's ahead. Today's world is more like a super-highway with competition coming in from companies outside our industry and sometimes from disruptive entrants who can have a substantial impact on how our business is viewed -  it's difficult to take in the scene that's so much more nuanced. That's how it is for enterprises.  Suddenly, it's not enough to stay ahead of your industry or track your traditional rivals. Sometimes you can't even tell who they are.

Look at your consumer. There is so much information at her disposal. Her expectations are being shaped by collective experience and social interactions. Her preferences are constantly evolving through a pan-industry "expectation-spillover". As she discovers newer experiences and conveniences, as a consumer, in one sphere, she expects to enjoy the same or better experience in another. Her logic goes something like this... "If I can choose to pay only a fraction of the cost of my favorite daily to read just the lifestyle section, why can't I buy insurance, at the airport, to cover me only through that one plane journey, instead of investing on comprehensive travel insurance? If FedEx can let me track the status of my delivery in real-time, what's keeping my bank from letting me know, in real-time, the value of my investments? " Suddenly, your business is up against criss-crossing expectations shaped by consumer experiences in a vertical that you never thought to look at!

At that juncture, we have little choice but to get pervasive in our relevance to consumers and challenge the role we've played so far within our industry cocoons. And, then look for opportunities to create value and delight customers. That's why, it makes sense to take some time off NOW to see what may not be visible easily at first sight...perhaps even a second or third. Ignore this trend, and we could be in for a rude awakening. But, when we embrace it, it'll be so much easier to identify opportunities to forge ahead and differentiate ourselves in a changing landscape.


Well, most certainly the times are indeed changing! What seemed like a great idea just a couple of years back, has become an ordinary thing today, and it'll only get tougher and tougher as the time passes by. It's not just about innovation, but also about identifying the future trends, and trying to meet the expectations of the future generation as well.

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