In today’s world, where calling every industry a ‘technology industry’ is no longer considered any overstatement, the industries that are getting most disrupted by technology are those that primarily deals in ‘manufacturing’ and ‘distribution’ of content. The content may be a video, an audio, an image, or just a text or a combination of two or more. The proliferation of such content and the technology impact in entertainment and social media space, is talked about extensively across channels and forums. What has probably got a relatively lesser limelight is the Information Services industry that is also witnessing multiple factors, both external and internal, at play that are impacting the industry dynamics.
Let’s start with the growing information economy, which obviously impacts the worldwide industry growth directly. So, what’s driving the growth for Information Economy across the globe?
1. Geopolitical & Economic Events – Global and regional events and policies (such as protectionism, Brexit, etc.) are driving greater need for timely and accurate access to information.
2. Regulations – Growing and stringent regulations (such as MiFID II, GDPR) are forcing organizations to look towards specialists for compliance.
3. Competitive Pressure – The pressure to ‘Deliver More for Less’ and to ‘Execute at Speed’ is forcing informed and faster data-based decision making.
4. Expansion of Operations – Organizations are outsourcing non-core activities, and also expanding their supply chain into unfamiliar territories, and hence increasing business risks, thereby increasing their information needs.
5. Infeasible Independent Existence – Organizations need to partner and collaborate to enable the entire ecosystem for driving industry growth and to not being left out. This involves working with unfamiliar channels and territories involving considerable risks.
While the growing need for information may sound favorable and promising for companies in information services business, the reality is that along with this growing need, there are multiple factors at play that are making the growth; and in some cases even the sustenance, challenging for information services providers. Some of the trends that are making the landscape more complex and challenging are:
1. Intensifying competition in the industry with the entry of tech-heavy Fintech, RegTech, LegalTech and News Tech startups
2. Massive scale of changes, with evolving and expanding data sources with data volumes and velocity growing at very rapid pace
3. Rising customer experience expectations with lookout for simpler products
4. Shift from proprietary model to open industry platform, with industry collaboration including regulators
5. Threat from free information providers, such as search engines and free document sharing websites
6. Need for better innovation management with rapidly evolving technology, such as AI, Cognitive, Blockchain, etc.
7. Faster time-to-market being ‘a must’ from both product & information perspective
8. Building efficiencies an imperative for supporting higher strategic investments
Considering the changing dynamics due to factors listed above and beyond, below are few areas that few of leading players in the industry are rightly focusing on, and shall be brought up the ladder, in their strategic priorities, by other players as well.
1. Being the ‘Network Orchestrator’ for an open industry platform.
- Source some required capabilities externally for controlling investments needed, for not getting stuck with reinventing the wheel, and for managing and scaling innovation well.
- Keep pace with technology, moving at breakneck speed, by partnering with right tech organizations that are ‘digital at core’ and have capability to converge business and technology.
2. Pursue extreme automation to gain competitive advantage, to drive efficiencies & to enable faster time-to-market.
- Leverage AI & Analytics for faster and more responsive business processes that enables solutions and platforms that drives competitive advantage
- Implement advanced DevOps for faster and more responsive product development lifecycle
- Route efficiency savings to much needed strategic investments
3. Augmenting Consumer Experience across Products & across Personas
- Embrace Design Thinking-led product and platform development for ensuring differentiated consumer experience in an increasingly competitive market.
- Focus on diverse personas, thinking much beyond just millennials and not fall prey to fallacy of ‘millennials focused designing for digital channels and solutions’.