Just as companies have adjusted to the now well-established wave of digital intermediaries — think Netflix, Expedia, Amazon — they must now prepare for what comes next.
A new wave of digital intermediaries are upon us that will be dramatically more disruptive than the first generation of digital entrants — completely altering the economics of business.
According to analyst James L. McQuivey, four digital intermediary models will disrupt industry by 2020:
- Digital demand and supply aggregators: Today’s digital intermediary darlings, these are the Ubers and Airbnbs of the word. The economic impact of this model, especially when eventually applied to areas like healthcare, will be in the trillions of dollars.
- Personal information consolidators: Think Mint, Simplee, and TripIt. The direct economic impact of consolidators is modest, but the strategic hit to all the other suppliers that want to create a more direct digital customer relationship with the user is devastating.
- Concierge services: GoButler and Hello Alfred use simple customer-facing tools to offer concierge-like personalized attention to the masses.
- Anticipatory agents: The apex of digital intermediaries, Google Now, Siri, etc. will exploit digital information more fully than all the rest.
These various digital intermediary roads converge on the same destination: “All companies will become anticipatory agents, aggregating market resources, exploiting information, and offering concierge-like simplification and personalization in a predictive, real-time mode,” writes McQuivey.