We are living in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before, we had grown accustomed to an agile and constantly changing world, but now the spotlight is on, and we need to adapt to change faster than ever before. This is reflected in the fact that we no longer require long transitional periods, but we implement the changes directly. For example, the use of cash disappeared from events practically overnight, and all transactions are now through card or mobile. Suddenly, the transition was painless for everyone. Should we be bolder in going into new ways of doing things, and abandon the previously traditional transitional periods for old procedures?
There is a play-off going on, in which agile and courageous frontrunners win and actors waiting for the “old world” to come back will be disappointed. Which group are you going to be part of?
A few years ago, I read Yuval Noah Harari’s book “Sapiens. A brief history of humankind.” In his book, Harari opened up the key points in the history of human development and presented his own views on future directions through some proper provocation. Why did man not remain in the caves of the African continent, but take over as the ruler of earth? According to Harari, man was able to develop and evolve when needed. In this rapidly changing world, we are in the midst of the same theme once again, with the pace of change accelerating all the time. Are you prepared for that in your business so you can continue to win the game? Ask yourself these 7 questions to find out your standing.
One thing that has changed the world significantly in recent times, is data - constantly and abundantly available, on just about everything. We gather data on natural resources, industrial equipment, cities, and ultimately also on ourselves and our operations. The amount of data will explode in the next few years. So what? It is essential that we understand what proportion of the giant mass of data is meaningful to each of us. We need to be able to identify the parts of the data that can be useful for our businesses and our customers. Using that as the foundation, we must build solutions to serve the needs of our customers.
Is that enough? It isn’t. We must also be able to cooperate, and that is why today, those who share data with each other and create added value together, will come out as winners. By sharing and receiving data, new information emerges that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This allows you to really serve your customers, by understanding their behaviour outside of just your own services. Based on the cooperation on discovering new meanings in the data, you will find that you have discovered new revenue models in your business and it will enable your company to get a win.
I argue, that many business leaders have an impression that they possess the most valuable data and know their customers perfectly. This is probably the case with information systems and offerings, but have you ever wondered how customers behave outside them? And how could they be served even better, based on the overall data related to the customer, meanwhile creating new revenue stream opportunities by cooperating with other companies?
The previously mentioned “share and utilise data” creates these opportunities. Through it, we can create personalised and longer customer paths across companies along with new business opportunities. A satisfied customer spends more money and tells their friends about the great customer experience they had.
Traditionally in the business world, in recent decades we have become accustomed to closed systems and to someone always owning the rights to something - as a means of protection. Fortunately, in today’s world, we have awakened to the power of ecosystems and to the fact that by working together we can create more and better things. So be friendly and create more together. Several success stories have already emerged globally. It is essential that the business ecosystem has clear roles, and a platform that enables the business ecosystem to flourish.
The way the modern generation thinks about things has changed, and the trend continues in a more “selfish”, but also responsible and accountable direction. People increasingly want to do as they please, meaning that the traditional way of forcing customers to behave according to the rights your company may own, is a falling trend. If you need to seek a competitive advantage through protecting your business by means of contracts, do your solutions really have competitiveness in the market, or would it be better if you share your solution in the business ecosystem freely and win the game because of your genuine competitive advantage? This approach needs to be considered as part of the strategy. Are you challenging the market by bringing customer-oriented, market-preferred solutions, or are you simply an obstructor that protects their own rights, forcing their customers to act based on them?
The customer wants to know this when making a purchase decision and a selection. This is a trend that continues to intensify. We have already seen green in the colour scheme of several companies, as they have wanted to make their image more environmentally friendly and have also worked hard to make their way of working and their offering more sustainable. As the latest phenomenon, sustainability issues will be visible to customers in all user interfaces. The so-called “Generation Z”, for which electronics have been routine since birth, wants to see the impact of sustainability when making choices in different user interfaces. Make sure they see it.
Digitalisation is coming, and it’s coming fast. It has been coming for a long time. In the 1990s, we digitised all “paperwork”, and since then, over the last decade, we have been able to catch up with genuine digitalisation and the benefits it has brought, including artificial intelligence. Additionally, with faster telecommunication connections (5G) and edge computing becoming available, we will have the opportunity to transform “promiseware” built on the 3G network of the 1990s into genuine services for all customers, as long as the data connections are in order and the bits can move quickly enough. The important thing to remember about this game is that the traditional will be preserved, and the digital will rise alongside it in harmony, both complementing each other.
An omnichannel approach allows us to link the physical and digital worlds together - each customer can choose the combination that best suits them. In the retail world, this is reflected in the combination of online and brick-and-mortar stores. Whereas in the world of arenas, people who watch events from home, those who participate through social media and those on-site in the arena are linked to the same experiences, just through different tools. Let’s build solutions in such a way that the customer decides and can enrich their own experience as they wish.
The world is changing rapidly and the only way to thrive is to be open-minded and to keep learning constantly. This also involves experimenting, failing and changing direction quickly. As a company leader, you need to be awake in terms of strategy, but also in terms of corporate culture. All personnel must be able to continuously learn and collaborate. This will allow you to succeed in an evolving world, and you together with your partners will be able to show the way as pioneers.
At UROS, one of the key ingredients to our accomplishments has been our belief and passion for making the impossible possible. This is reflected in our operations in such a way that all our products and business ecosystems are pioneers in their fields. It is also a cornerstone in the foundation of our corporate culture. We have had many great accomplishments so far, and firmly believe that we will see more achievements in many areas in the future.
UROS Live is the latest platform - our product that enables a completely new type of experience for all customers and businesses in smart cities and events. With our business ecosystem, we are challenging the status quo that exists in the market globally, starting in Finland with Oulun Kärpät and the remarkable UROS LIVE arena. It has been a pleasure to be part of the story of the UROS Live platform from the very beginning, taking it from concept to product. We look to the future boldly, changing the world for the better together with all our partners.
* An adaptation of this article has been published in Finnish by Vere.
Mika Pohjola, Vice President, Sales & Business Development
Mika is an ambassador for digital transformation, with over 25 years of experience in the software and telecom industry. He envisions solutions of tomorrow on a global scale, productises them, builds business ecosystems, sells solutions and disrupts different industries through them all. At UROS Mika handles business development, customers and sales of the UROS Live platform.
Learn more about the UROS Live platform.