Covid-19 has accelerated the inevitable. Like the great wars of the past, where innovation and industrialisation was catapulted forwards, this pandemic is fast tracking the global shift to digital. This was happening regardless, it’s now just doing so at a much faster pace.
Companies big and small are shifting to e-commerce, which I will loosely define here as “providing your offering to your customers in a digital manner”.
Pre Covid, most were thinking mainly along the lines of retailers in terms of e-commerce. If you sell a physical product, you really should be selling it online as well. This was a no brainer, pre or post Covid.
Post Covid however, companies falling outside the traditional retail space have been forced to think e-commerce and how to make it work. You can be sure that most boardrooms (Zoom / Teams rooms) of mid to large companies, across various sectors, are having discussions around digitally delivering their offering to their customers.
What used to be the domain of retail, is now the domain of everyone.
Stephen van Coller, CEO of EOH was quoted at the end of 2020 as saying that the future of big IT companies like EOH was going to be less about selling off the shelf products and more about transitioning to services, value adds and their own licensing arrangements.
Essentially, I understand this as meaning that the big ERPs and one size fit all products will see less demand as companies seek faster and more agile ways of delivering their offering digitally.
Having blogged about this in the past, I’m happy to say that in our engagements we can see this playing out beautifully. Companies, even as large as Spur Group are increasingly finding that building out their own APIs and exposing those to 3rd parties such as ourselves, leads to cost effectiveness and speed in execution.
This, unfortunately, is not for everyone though, mainly due to a lack of skills. It works for Spur Group because they have an incredibly strong internal skill set, with excellent technical capabilities that transcend the traditional big corporate IT structure, where you would typically find network engineers but no developers or software architects.
A further benefit that cannot be underestimated is that the intellectual property of these internally built systems reside with the company itself. Not only does it mean that there won’t be any licensing costs associated with the software, but it can deliver a real competitive advantage. These systems cannot just be bought by competitors.
As companies transition more towards digital, they will need to look at their IT departments and realise that an entirely new set of skills are required. UX practitioners, digital designers, system architects, software developers and devops experts.
Time to market and the ability to quickly pivot will also continue to grow in their importance as project success factors. How quickly can the offering be delivered? Can it easily change based on analytics and consumer feedback? This will drive the flattening of corporate decision making structures and cut red tape. Speed matters greatly when requirements are constantly shifting and changing.
In summary, I now see e-commerce being relevant to most, if not all organisations and that the way to deliver quickly, effectively and at high quality is to build out internal systems and skills, while relying on competent 3rd party suppliers that complement your team and provide firepower.
The Checkers Sixty60 app demonstrates the above points beautifully. It’s a wonderful success story.
At Lima Bean, we are proud to be working alongside Spur Group to develop game changing mobile apps by mid 2021. Watch this space!