Last decade saw more and more application of Information Technology (IT) in businesses. While the number of completely IT-based businesses are continuously growing, IT has percolated well even in the traditional brick and mortar businesses, whose connection with IT is not obvious. Leadership is about spotting opportunities in this space and making smart use of IT to disrupt.
A classic example is the book selling business. Amazon brought IT into this traditional brick and mortar business. The smart use of IT eliminated the need for users to visit a bookstore, enabling ordering books right from the convenience of their homes or office. The new IT based bookstore also has a smart librarian who shows the users what other users with a similar taste ordered and which books could be of interest. More importantly, it saved Amazon huge infrastructure costs. This strategy was highly successful and Amazon’s sales skyrocketed. The growth happened at the cost of traditional book sellers. Barnes and Nobles, the market leader in the business, was severely hit. Ironically, Amazon’s name came up as a strong contender to buy them out. Such is the impact of what the right use of IT can do to a traditional business.
The Amazon story is a bit dated. However, it inspired many to follow suit. Previously, it took uncommon vision to spot this kind of opportunities. Today it just takes a trained mind, since many stories are already around us.
IT is a goldmine. Be it any business, leaders need to be on the lookout of how to use IT to further their business.
A word of caution before we close. Not all IT efforts yield miraculous results, so it is important to put in place a well-thought-out strategy first. The execution is even more important, as 75% of IT projects are known to fail for one reason or another. We plan to cover these aspects in more detail in further articles.