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Will You Be The Victim Or Victor When It Comes To Disruptive Technology?

If you’re not in the business of disrupting markets then you’ll be affected by new technologies sooner rather than later — tomorrow, next week, next month, this year.

Pieter Scholtz

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Many SMEs are so focused on the here and now, and survival, that they forget to look at how disruptive technologies are going to affect their business or how they could use these technologies to improve their businesses or products.

In recent months, I’ve been improving my understanding of the massive changes we’re facing. We have a choice; either we benefit from them or we become victims of the rapid changes taking place around us.

The extending reach of disruptive technology

Disruptive technologies are becoming more pervasive and there is no industry or profession/job that will not be affected by these forces.

These technologies will have a far-reaching impact in manufacturing, retail, finance and healthcare, to name a few.

In manufacturing, 3D printing drives an increase in innovation, while improving product design cycles and costs, increases production speed and quality, and reduces warehouse inventories through virtual inventories. The use of nanotechnology will also improve precision, product performance and cost.

Related: The Dawn of Digital Disruption

How disruptive technology is already influencing retail, finance and healthcare

In retail, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags will track products from supply chain to consumer, providing benefits for retailers. The use of ‘beacons’ gives retailers insights into the way consumers are navigating their stores, where they’re shopping and for how long.

In finance, the use of blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and biometric verification is already finding its way into how we do business.

In healthcare, the use of genomics, big data and cloud- based robotics is enabling cheaper, faster and more efficient patient care.

While these changes may seem far-removed from your own industry or markets, the reality is that technology is disrupting everything, and your industry may be next.

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The question isn’t if we will be affected, but when and how we respond to these changes?

1Be aware of the changes that are taking place

As a business owner, you should make time to read about these changes in the medium and short term and attend seminars or conferences where they are being discussed and debated.

2Evaluate how technology can improve or disrupt your business

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How can my business benefit from this? Is there an opportunity for my business to launch into a new market, provide a new product or offer my current service faster or at a lower cost using technology? How will the technology assist my business to recreate our Unique Selling Point (USP)?

How is the technology going to affect the viability of my:

  • Business: In what way is this technology a threat to my business if we don’t or can’t adopt the technology?
  • Target market: Will this technology take over my target market and how do I respond to this? Do I adopt the technology or redefine my market?
  • Distribution channel: How do we respond to distribution channels moving closer to the consumer and increasingly going virtual?
  • People: Do I have the skills in my business to adopt, adapt and make use of the changes that are coming and can we drive these changes?
  • Business processes: How is technology affecting the way we handle our financial transactions, collect data or product development cycles, movement of products from manufacturing stage, through to warehousing and the consumer?
  • Speed to market
  • Cost structure
  • Quality

How do I prepare my business and people for the changes?

3Develop a strategy to deal with technological changes

Any strategy is better than none. You can’t ignore the reality that tech is changing how people do business across countries, industries and communities.

Related: Reinventing Your Small Business: Digital Disruption Unleashes New Opportunities

4Focus on customer engagement

Ensure that you stay close to your customer and target market so that you’re able to respond to changes.

Bringing it all together

Technology is going to affect us all and the sooner we ask these questions the better. Failure to address them will force us to react to the change, or be overtaken by it, resulting in obsolescence.

Begin your new tech-focused disruptive strategy with these three questions:

  • How can we do this faster?
  • How can we do this cheaper?
  • How can we improve the product quality?

You’ll find that the answer to all three has a tech component.

Pieter Scholtz is the Master Licensee for ActionCOACH South Africa. ActionCOACH is the world’s largest executive and business coaching company with operations in 41 countries. It is also on the list of the top 100 franchises globally. As a highly successful Business and Executive coach, Pieter is a master of teaching business owners how to turn their businesses around and accelerate their growth. Email him at pieterscholtz@actioncoach.com or phone 082 8813729.

Company Posts

Is Data Protection One Of Your Top Concerns? It Should Be

With data breaches on the rise, can you afford to ignore the protection of your company’s most valuable asset?

Kaspersky Lab

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Did You Know?

28% of companies surveyed¹ in South Africa, from different industries, consider data protection to be one of the top concerns facing businesses.


As the business world continues to transform digitally, data is emerging as a critical asset for SMEs across most industries and is in fact, for some, the only asset that accumulates all the company’s value. However, the consequences and cost to company of data breaches is a disturbing certainty for SMEs. New research² shows that in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region, the average cost of a breach for an SME has reached $114 000 to date in 2018, which is already 30% higher than in 2017 ($88 000).

The reality is that cybercriminal tactics are only evolving and apart from the consideration of highly targeted type cyberattacks that steal data, SMEs must consider all types of data breach scenarios — from advanced exploits to creativity of spam and phishing attacks on trending topics, and the loss of data from misplaced or stolen mobile devices.

The evolution of cyberthreats facing SMEs calls for an evolution in cybersecurity to ensure data protection can be achieved and the risk of cyberattack kept minimal.

Related: Building Organisational Wealth With Accurate Data For Enhanced Decision-Making

Next generation protection and control

In the likely event of more business operations going digital, SMEs must protect every endpoint in their business, as the endpoint is the prime target and source of the majority of problems. Endpoints have become the front door to business networks and information, and while their physical security is beyond an organisation’s control, SMEs must find a way of securing the data stored on them.

The answer? Data encryption minimises the risk of information leaks that may occur when a portable computer, removable drive or hard drive is lost or stolen, or when data is accessed by unauthorised users or applications.

The process of encryption can be managed by a single console that makes it easy for a business to control the security of devices and the data stored on them. With encryption measures in place, even if a device does fall into the wrong hands, it won’t be possible to access the data stored on it.

Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business

Kaspersky offers just this type of protection needed — and much more — in a single solution with one easy-to-use management console. It is based on Machine Learning-based next generation protection that can help SMEs protect every endpoint their business runs through:

  • Encryption Management
  • Mobile security and device management
  • Protecting against the latest threats, including unknown malware
  • Hardens endpoints — to reduce exposure to cyberattacks
  • Helps boost productivity — via Cloud-enabled usage controls
  • Protects servers and endpoints without damaging performance
  • Secures diverse environments — PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android
  • Simplifies security management — with one unified console.

Related: A Cloud Is A Cloud, No Matter What Business You’re In, Right? Wrong!

Every SME’s IT is a unique mix of systems, networks and devices — where IT security needs to fit into existing infrastructure easily and protect every element of it without slowing the business down and without a financial knock. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business does just this and is the true cybersecurity platform built from the ground up, offering a business-critical combination of deep protection for data, efficiency and seamless manageability of endpoints — helping SMEs deploy security rapidly with minimal fuss.

kaspersky-lab


¹ Kaspersky Lab Global IT Security Survey 2017, South Africa data I

² What is the cost of a data breach? Kaspersky Lab IT security economics report

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Technology

What Every South African Entrepreneur Should Know About GDPR

Compliance, data, legislation, risk – terms that your business needs on its radar right now.

Chris Ogden

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It was on 25 May 2018 that the long awaited and often discussed General Data Protection Regulation came into effect. This shiny, new European Union (EU) legislation was created to ensure that the data of all EU residents was protected properly and provides in-depth guidelines into the collection and processing of their personal information. It may not sound like this is something even remotely relevant to your business, but wait, it really, really is..

If the data that is being processed by your company belongs to an EU resident or if your data is located somewhere other than South Africa then the relevance is suddenly very clear. If you store or process anyone from the EU, you need to get to grips with this legislation and what it means to your business and your customers. If you don’t, you could be in line for some very heavy financial penalties. And no, the fact you’re on a separate continent isn’t going to make you immune.

So what do I do?

Spend some time getting to know the legislation. The Act has been laid out to help you figure out where you could be affected and what you need to do to mitigate the risk. It has a separate definition for ‘sensitive personal data’ that relates to information concerning a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union activities, physical or mental health, sexual preferences and criminal offences.

If you don’t understand the terminology or you’re unsure as to whether or not it applies to your business, speak to a professional. The cost in money and time is far less than the one you may incur if you are in breach of GDPR. It will also very likely help you get on track to become compliant with South Africa’s POPI Act too.

Related: GDPR Is Coming – And SA Firms Are Not Ready

Why should I care?

You can be financially and reputationally penalised if you are found to be in contravention of this new legislation.

What steps should I take?

As well as speaking with a professional and reading the GDPR legislative requirements, you should understand the risks and how they could impact you and your EU client base. Whether you are a controller or a processor of data, the act still applies. However, it will only apply if your organisation operates in the EU or serves EU individuals, not so much where you host your applications.

Why bother if I don’t have EU connections?

Over the past few years data breaches have become so common they’re almost not newsworthy anymore. However, this doesn’t change the fact that consumers are impacted and businesses are voiding responsibility. Like the ability to opt out of marketing materials or permanently remove accounts from platforms where the information must be permanently destroyed.

GDPR ensures that breached scenarios are reported within 72 hours of becoming aware of it and the fines can range from 10 million Euro to 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher. If you’re not connected to the EU, POPI is set to have equally stringent rules attached to it and consumers are becoming increasingly fed up with being left to deal with the impact of bad business behaviour. You have been warned…

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Technology

How Blockchain Will Disturb The E-Commerce Industry In The Next Few Years

What is blockchain? And how will it disturb the e-commerce? Those are questions we should be asking ourselves. In this article, we will be answering these questions to help you understand, blockchain technology and how it will disturb the e-commerce industry in the next few years.

Jandre de Beer

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In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto invented blockchain to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The creation of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency, to resolve the double-spending problem without the need for a trusted authority or central server.

So, what is blockchain? a blockchain is an endless growing list of records called blocks, which is linked and secured using cryptography.

Each block naturally contains a cryptographic hash of the former block, a timestamp and transaction data.

As a design, blockchains are resistant to modification of the data and is an open distributed ledger which can record transactions between two parties proficiently, and in a verifiable and lasting way.

Blockchain permits digital information to be communicated between a decentralised, peer-to-peer (P2P) network creating a new type of internet.

Blockchain functions like a digital ledger or spreadsheet which can be accessed by everyone, but the former input cannot be edited without that edit appearing in the audit trail.

Having a high-level understanding of how blockchain works, will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Related: 5 Basics To Success When Starting An Ecommerce Business

There are a number of key features which make the network exciting for eCommerce brands like:

  1. Decentralised – Blockchain works over a P2P network. Data is not held in a single location, which makes it more reliable. Nobody owns or is in charge of the blockchain, which means its free of influence from governments or large corporations.
  2. Immutable – transactions are append-only, meaning once data is recorded it cannot be changed without that change is visible in the audit trail.
  3. Near real-time – stakeholders can work collaboratively in real-time over a sole, trusted ledger.

The challenges that the eCommerce industry face today are trust, frauds, slow transactions and other costs. Going forward blockchain will disturb the challenges and create a whole new revolution in the eCommerce industry in the following ways:

  1. Cheaper Transactions – blockchain allows the existence of “smart contracts” which would be software programs that will self-execute contract instructions, lowering the cost and complexity of transfers and transactions.
  2. Faster transactions – transactions, order details, commissions in the form of smart contracts can be used to save all documents, shipping, delivery and possible events which affect financial settlements. Thus, every individual or company involved in the supply chain can make vital data visible to others, which lowers disputes, delays, disorganisation and speeds up the transaction process.
  3. Transparency – blockchains store entire owner history, no matter where the product goes and how many times its bought, which eliminates the frauds and brings transparency to consumer and merchant.

In conclusion, blockchain has ushered a new revolution of digital currency and transaction system where intermediaries like brokers, banker’s lawyers might not be needed at all.

Read next: 6 Steps To Building A Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site In 60 Days

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