Disrupt or be disrupted: that’s the new rule shaping this digital age. In Europe particularly, the tech scene has seen truly explosive growth over the past few years. In fact, Europe now has the second largest number of social media users and mobile subscriptions in the world. In addition, the region has 66% of the world’s active mobile and social users.

In my view, this is part of a wider global tech trend. Some experts estimate that by next year there will be five billion mobile users and 2.3 billion social users worldwide – that’s about one out of every three people on the planet! At the same time, other experts predict that while 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years, this is expected to double in size every two years, growing a staggering tenfold between 2013 and 2020.

Why does any of this matter to businesses? Because I believe it is closely related to changing customer expectations. As people become more connected, we increasingly expect to access the service and support we want at any time and on any device. Also, advances in cloud, social, mobile and data science technologies have supported a burst of disruptive new businesses that are redefining the customer experience. 

Who are the disruptors?

Few companies better illustrate what it means to be a disruptor than Spotify and Uber. Innovative forces in their industries, these companies have set a new standard for customer experience and value.

They are thriving because they using the massive amounts of data generated in our mobile, connected world to:  

  • Support rich customer-centric engagement
  • Offer personalised journeys, 1-to-1 interactions
  • Actually anticipate changing customer needs

What this means for legacy businesses

It’s vital that businesses of all sizes ensure they are using data to innovate and to fend off disruptive rivals.

The concerns around being ‘Uber-ed’ has led many companies in Europe to modernise and deliver a new standard of customer engagement.

A great example is Philips, which is using technology to build a more complete picture of customer and retailer needs. Philips harnesses data from millions of its connected products – lamps, air purifiers, coffee machines – which is gathered and analysed in a single network. The level of insight actually enables Philips to predict its customers’ changing needs. It really is game-changing stuff.

Likewise, Dutch company KLM, one of the world’s largest airlines, is currently creating a competitive service advantage with its one-hour response guarantee via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

So, what does the future look like?

The fact of the matter is, we’ve had business intelligence apps for years. However, it’s the advances in data science that are leading to intelligent and predictive solutions that are allowing for disruption.  

What will this mean from a consumer’s point of view?

Imagine unlocking and starting your car with a touch of your finger, or a car that can pull over if it detects irregularities in your heartbeat from your Fitbit or Apple Watch. Or a windscreen made of ‘active glass’ that displays your navigation system, and an audio system that will learn your preferences and play what you want right when you want it. 

This is the world we’re entering into.  

What does this mean for businesses? 

Regardless of what sector a business is in, or its size, now is the time to modernise and ensure it is offering customers a personalised experience. Failing to do so will only open the doors to competitors who are more willing to offer, or more adept at offering, 1-to-1 customer engagements.

It really is a question of being disruptive or getting disrupted.  Discover how you can jumpstart your journey to the cloud now.