Before joining Capgemini, I was a Business Development Manager in the era when the Internet was still new. Working for an IT Services company with over 2000 people, I was one of the only 5 staff members who had Internet access. We were struggling with what it was, if it was anything at all, and if we should invest in it. If we did invest where and in what would be our dilemma. As we all know, the internet evolved and nobody has been able live without it since. One of the differences between this era and the previous is in - Speed.
Mobile, today, moves 10 times as fast as the web did. The question whether or not to invest in it is purely rhetorical. It is quite simple, if you don’t, you won’t be relevant anymore.
Back in those days, the company to follow was of course Sun. Their vision, “the network is the computer”, showed great comprehension of the times to come. I had some very interesting discussions with one of their Business Development Managers and Thought-leaders. He kept explaining to me that nobody really understood the impact of Internet. As an example, he explained to me that in 5 years from now, all the record stores would be gone. Nobody would ever go into a record store to buy a CD again, as music would simply be downloaded from the Internet. That was somewhere in 1995, and although the point he was making was correct, it took Free Record Shop in the Netherlands until 2013 to go bankrupt.
Do you think you can afford to lay back, relax, and wait for the times to come with Mobile Technology? Mobile Technology moves at a different speed. We may not grasp all the opportunities right now, but rest assured somebody else will.
It was a company like Easyjet who fully understood the opportunity that Internet brought. They completely changed the business model in the airline industry, to the extent that all the traditional and settled airliners suddenly had to wake up from what they used to do and make their moves to follow the business model of Easyjet. There was a time when the blue and white logo of KLM was present in every shopping street in the Netherlands, as there were KLM agents everywhere. It was one of the pillars of the KLM marketing strategy. They are gone now…
The industry that first understood the full potential of Mobile was, of course, the Banking industry. The impact of being mobile or not, was huge. Today, if you are a Bank and you are not in the pocket of your clients, you are no longer relevant. Every bank, today, has an external App , that allows you to do all or most of your financial transactions. Local branch offices of banks have been shut down, at a very rapid rate. I have a 23 year old son, who has never seen the inside of a bank branch office. For him, the bank exists only in his smart phone. People even change their banks because of the quality of the Apps. There was a time when there was a local branch office of a bank on every street corner. They have also gone…
If I am not wrong, it was in the Netherlands, at the end of 2009, that the Rabobank introduced the first real Banking App, one that allowed you to do actual financial transactions. That is only 4 years ago.
At the end of 2009, the market for mobile operating systems looked like: Symbian : 44,6%, Blackberry: 20,8%, iOS: 17,1% and Android: 3,5%
This raised the question, whether it was a good idea to invest in a Banking App for iOS, with iOS having a small market share. Additional (US) research at that time indicated that 67% of smartphone users were not willing to use their smartphones for financial transactions. Was this really a serious investment or just a smart marketing move to join the iPhone hype and create a young and hip image? That was only 4 years ago. History tells us it was indeed a good idea.
So now the question is: do you understand what Mobile means for your industry? Is it just a smart marketing move to join the Mobile hype or can you use it to outsmart your competitors, and become the most relevant company in your industry?