Experience and research have proven that no business is insulated from the harsh realities of DISRUPTION to businesses and industries.
Trends have also proven that the world of business is to expect more disruptions as time rolls by. The factors mostly cited for these disruptions are advancements in technology, unpredictable changes in consumer lifestyle and preferences, competition and globalization.
It is certain that the times ahead of us would see more disruptions that would throw businesses out of gear either to reinvent themselves or just fumble and drive themselves out of leading market positions or into relevance.
It sounded a bit distant when Uber emerged in the west. A couple of years down the line (in 2016) the Ghanaian transport industry ‘relunctantly’ welcomed their new kid brother and taxi drivers have felt the heat. This is technology and competition barged together.
The financial system is still adjusting to the mobile money concept which has thrown out enormous opportunities and options for fintechs and digitalization. The blockchain technology which drives the cryptocurrency market has already made inroads in other parts of the world. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is lurking impatiently on the sidelines waiting to pounce in. The subject AI seeks to address is how much of our jobs would be taken over by robots. Under AI most occupations would be at risk and practitioners who would still be in their practices 5-6 years from now should start thinking seriously about how robots would not replace them. McKinsey reports that more data has been gathered over the last two years than the entire lifetime of the world before then.
Recent developments have shown that Ghana and Africa would not be left out in
Come 2018, these disruptions would continue briskly and dictate how businesses transform themselves.
What disruptions should Ghanaian businesses be conscious of in 2018?
- Online retail/operations
Traditional retailers must have already felt the impact of the online shops. Amazon has proven that everything is possible. With declining cost of internet connectivity and smart phone surge the online trade should force traditional retailers to think and act. Though the likes of Tonaton have been around for a number of years, those years were the first difficult ground breaking years which now seem to be over considering the kind of response experienced with the introduction of the ‘Black Friday’ mainly driven (aggressively) by the online retailers.
The online retailers themselves have new entrants to deal with while the traditional retailers would have to do a lot not against the wave but riding with the wave. The likes of Ghanaweb, ghanatalksbusiness.com, pulse.com and others have shown where the trends lie in broadcasting.
Opportunities have emerged for businesses to digitalise both their customer interface as well as their back end processes. This phenomenon is applicable to all businesses. From hospitality to manufacturing, to the broader financial services space, media and entertainment every businesses should be thinking and making room for resources to deal with emergence of such disruption. Deciding to digitalise comes with a lot of considerations which is outside the focus of this article, but would be discussed in subsequent editions.
- Aggressive Startups
More entrepreneurs would most likely be ‘born’ in 2018. The writer personally met in one year the highest number of persons who have either quit their day jobs, diversifying their businesses or leaving one unsuccessful business into another. Obviously a higher number of them would crush out, the smaller number that remain for every industry would be enough to cause stir to existing businesses. It took only one Tesla, one Amazon and one Uber to disrupt the industries they are in. Most of these startups riding on technology have the added advantage of not investing much in brick and mortar and so startup cost do not include so much on brick and mortar which could be barriers to entering the business.