• Integration is the New Innovation  

Integration is the New Innovation

Everything must go. If you’ve ever seen those three words on display outside a store in your neighborhood, it usually means two things. Firstly, it’s an indicator that there’s a good chance of picking up a bargain should you set foot inside. Secondly, it’s a sign that the business in question has most likely failed to adapt to the evolving demands of the modern marketplace.

History is filled with cautionary tales of enterprises that fell by the wayside after ignoring the changing tides of their industry or attempting to alter direction too late in the day. It’s startling to note that since the turn of the Century, 52% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list have gone bankrupt, been acquired, or ceased to exist. A prominent case in point from recent years is Borders—the international bookstore that folded in the aftermath of (among other things) oversights relating to the imminent digitization of books and music. They are not alone.

As digital disruption continues to occur at pace, businesses don’t need to look far for examples of how new technology can render them obsolete should they fail to embrace the opportunities it presents. It wasn’t so long ago that digital music downloads disrupted the traditional CD-sales market. But just last year, iTunes saw download sales fall by 13% as usage of streaming services grew by 54%. The lesson? Even recently disrupted industries are not far from immune to change.

Although these factors can make it daunting for businesses as they strive to become future-proof in our digital world, there is a growing pool of conventional wisdom from which they can draw.

One recent study by Accenture surveyed 2,000 successful businesses around the world to gather feedback on the growing importance of digital technologies in their respective fields. Interestingly, the overarching trend from respondents was the acknowledgement that the way ahead for their businesses lay in the integration of digital platforms from external service providers. 72% of those polled said the next two years would see widespread adoption of platforms that integrated their data with digital partners. As the report puts it: “The key characteristic of a platform-based business is that others outside the company are creating value for the enterprise—in many cases enabling entirely new digital models for the company.”

With more and more Software-as-a-Service solutions on offer to alleviate all manner of business concerns, enterprises will find themselves spoiled for choice as they identify partners who can add value to their ecosystem and circumvent the need to create complex software systems in-house. The importance of doing so was neatly summarized in a publication from management consultants McKinsey & Company, which stated, “Digital winners are thinking broadly about whom to collaborate with. It’s very hard to keep up with the pace of evolution in the digital world unless you have a flexible IT infrastructure and one that can plug and play products and services from other places.”

The Accenture report cites examples of such collaborations—including Philips’ partnership with Salesforce to create an optimized platform for the delivery of healthcare, or Fiat’s connection with providers of navigation systems, entertainment content, and social media channels to establish an in-vehicle experience that goes the extra mile. The opportunities are endless for companies who understand that integration and innovation are now cut from the same cloth.

Turning attention to banking and the financial services sector for B2B, we are seeing a similar disruption. Innovation is about integration here as well and it is truly a greenfield market opportunity. Using a digital or web-first approach, innovation is coming from the ability to connect B2B trade platforms, enterprise data and workflows, and banking services in ways that can provide full visibility and control into each facet and each actor in the supply chain. This evolution is centered on the ability to affect change in a transaction dynamically—around the clock and around the world as all systems in the flow adapt to new environment conditions in real-time. This is not some utopian future. It is already happening. Only, it is not coming from traditional banking, enterprise data providers, or trading platforms. This digital disruption is coming from the new class of innovative FinTech start-ups that are purpose-building web-first, always-on, integrated solutions that are transforming how companies connect, collaborate, and transact. These companies make partnering and integration a core competency, and this paves the way for innovation.

As digital disruption continues to rewrite the rules on everything from how we consume entertainment to the way enterprises pay one another, it seems clear that businesses who ignore the exciting possibilities on offer today will be the ones hanging their “Everything must go” signs tomorrow.

To find out more about how we can help you become a leader rather than a follower in the digital business landscape, get in touch or read more details of all that our Dynamic Payments platform has to offer.

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