At their peak (Blockbuster in 2004 and Blackberry in 2009), Blackberry was named the fastest growing company in the world by Fortune magazine, with earnings exploding by 84% a year, and Blockbuster boasted over 9,000 storefronts nationwide (online.wsj.com). Flash forward a few years later and both of those former entertainment and technology giants have been squashed, annihilated, and utterly humiliated by their now modern-day equivalents Apple and Netflix.What caused the former Goliaths to literally fall to their knees? How can it be possible that the inventor of the smartphone and the former at-home entertainment powerhouse could both go from making billions of dollars per year to losing billions of dollars per fiscal quarter?
Absolute failure to migrate their products and services to the Cloud in order to meet the needs of consumers led to their complete obsolescence (www.business.time.com). By failing to acknowledge the great shift to the Cloud and act on moving their services to the Cloud they failed to innovate and create new opportunities for growth. Consumers’ needs change with time and as these two former powerhouses have shown, no business is too big to fall from grace if it fails to recognize the number one cardinal rule of business: the customer is always right.
How can my business avoid the danger of obsolescence?
Don’t be afraid to make reasonable changes to your business or how you conduct it, including migrating your products or services to the Cloud whenever possible. The folks at Blockbuster foolishly failed to recognize in time just how inconvenient their service was becoming amidst a customer base becoming more and more accustomed to the conveniences afforded them by Cloud technology. They (the consumer) don’t want to have to go to a physical storefront to rent movies anymore and Netflix offered them the opportunity to escape having to leave their home for access to movies as well as unlimited movie rentals for a flat fee; effectively eliminating the much-hated late fee.
To avoid obsolescence, your business can do the same: invest in Cloud technologies where appropriate. Some Cloud-based technologies which your business should seriously consider adopting (if it hasn’t already):
Cloud Telecommunications- Infonetics.com estimates that Cloud-based phone service will grow to become a $76 billion industry by 2015 with over 1 billion subscribers. Cloud telephony (also known as VoIP) is being recognized as the next natural step in the evolution of the telephone and benefits like unified communications options and extreme cost savings (up to 65% versus traditional phone service) have businesses flocking to Cloud telephony in droves. Additional perks of switching to a VoIP system include:
- No domestic long distance charges
- Mobile apps which eliminate international roaming charges (i.e. Crexendo Mobile)
- Unified Communications options which keep you connected to your business line at all times
Cloud Project Management Programs/ Collaborative File Sharing Systems- One aspect of project management which has been infamously difficult to manage in the past has been remote collaboration with others via the internet. The more people are involved in a project, the more confusing it can be as to which person has the most recent and complete version of the project. Thanks to new Cloud project management systems and file sharing programs however, now multiple people can work on the same project with greater ease. Adopting Cloud project management programs and collaborative file sharing systems (versus sending every file via email for example) is simply a smarter way to complete projects.
Productivity-increasing apps- With both the Android and Apple App Stores boasting well over 1 billion apps for sale each, it can be very difficult to decide which apps provide the most value to your specific business needs. However, with a little bit of research you are sure to find the productivity-increasing apps which fulfill your exact needs.
Companies which prove to be most convenient by their targeted demographic will receive the most business and come out on top. By adopting Cloud technologies wherever appropriate your business can maintain its relevancy and competitive edge; avoiding obsolescence and innovating to create new opportunity.Photos courtesy of 123RF
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