I’m house hunting.
It’s a very enlightening way of seeing digital disruption in action. When my wife and I bought our current house over a decade ago, we found it on a property website, but that’s where the digital engagement ended. We physically went to the estate agent to book a viewing. We were given a printed brochure about the house. Our mortgage application was done in person. We took photos of the house, printed them at the local Boots and stuck them in an album. When we moved we had to call our friends and tell them we’d moved.
Today, we went to the area we liked, opened up the RightMove.co.uk mobile app, hit “My Location” and were instantly shown a map of houses for sale in our budget. We found a couple we liked. One was even with an online only estate agent. No need to take photos, because there were 18 high resolution shots on the web. My wife announced on Facebook that we’d put an offer in. Nothing has happened yet, the vendor might not accept the offer, but look at how slick digital has made this process. Its taken a day.
This kind of disruption is rippling through almost every industry, and the very real challenge traditional firms face is how to keep up?
The clear answer from eBusiness executives is that they can’t do it themselves. The pace of change is too great, skilled people are hard to recruit and retain and it takes real innovators to develop location-aware, context driven mobile solutions like RightMove’s app ahead of your competition. Partners are vital to driving innovation and plugging the skills gap. The challenge is that:
- Customer experience, creative and technology skills are the hardest to recruit. Almost two thirds of eBusiness teams struggle to recruit CX and creative skills, and over half struggle to find technical talent. These roles blend digital, creative, technical and commercial savvyness, and often demand high levels of interpersonal skills as well. These guys and girls are rare, expensive and difficult to attract. In our latest executive survey report, Trends 2014: Staffing And Hiring For eBusiness, we examine this issue in the context of the wider staffing and organizational trends that eBusiness teams face.
- Outsourcing only fixes things if done strategically. In response to this skills gap, three quarters of teams outsource technology skills, with almost a third looking to partners to help with creative and CX tasks. But the risk for these eBusiness leaders is that tactical outsourcing challenges their ability to innovate and drives costs upwards. Partners can provide significant value, but only if engaged in the right way. That’s why we’ve also been researching how to Define Your Digital Transformation Partner Strategy.
To win in this complex and fast-paced digital world, eBusiness leaders must innovate. Firms like John Lewis are realizing that technology innovation is tough, and that they don’t have the monopoly on good ideas. To that end they recently launched an innovation hothouse, JLab to incubate new ideas. Smart eBusiness leaders are learning to extend their reach through wider dynamic ecosystems of value. Maybe it’s time you re-evaluated your staffing and partner startegy?