Riding digital shockwaves towards a quantum future


Posted on: January 22, 2018 by Jose Esteban Lauzán

On a recent visit to my mother’s house, I was surprised when she brought up Bitcoin and Blockchain in our conversation. Something that I’ve been dealing professionally for just a few years is now being discussed openly around the kitchen table! It’s an example of how a nascent technology can rise up the hype scale rapidly and demonstrates how technology is advancing at such a pace that it is touching every part of our lives.

Such is the breadth of these advances that new technologies are emerging all the time. While this opens up new possibilities for organizations and enables them to take advantage of alternative business models, some are struggling to keep up with all the change and can’t decide where their priorities should be focused. Here, we look at how businesses can best prepare to surf these ‘digital shockwaves’.

Heightened competition for market share and talent

Over the past 200 years, we’ve seen industry evolve from steam engines to electricity to computers and now digital cyber-physical systems. Digital platforms are enabling new business models by bringing fragmented demand and supply together or creating digital business ecosystems. We’ve seen how eCommerce or transport have been totally upended overnight, radically transforming customer service in the process. This is however, a double-edged sword. While organisations have more freedom to implement new business models, so too do their rivals. And, it doesn’t just stop there: while they can expect competition from traditional players, they must also anticipate market invasion from unexpected places. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods earlier this year shows one example of this. Over the past two decades, the online bookstore has reinvented itself to become an IT and an eCommerce giant, yet this acquisition clearly shows that its plans to disrupt the bricks-and-mortar retail and groceries industries are in full swing.

Another consideration for businesses is how to attract the best people to come and work for their company. With so many advanced technologies emerging, there is a need to develop very specific skillsets within organizations – not everyone with a technical background will be able to work on Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence or Quantum Computing. When you start to narrow down the community of people with these specific skills, the talent pool gets smaller, making it difficult to find the right person for the job – even if employers can now hire individuals remotely on an as-they-need basis.

How businesses must prepare

While the pace of change may feel overwhelming at times, there are certain steps that organizations can take to ensure they are ready to embrace this next era of disruption:

  • Situational awareness

First, it’s about identifying the context (needs, technology trends, business trends), understanding what they are and how they will affect the business. At Atos, we run Innovation Workshops with our clients to help them anticipate the pain points and opportunities that may result from particular scenarios.

  • Strategy

Next, it’s time to rethink everything as we know it. In the current scenario of profound change, companies will only survive by doing different things, or doing the same things in a radically different way. Work out where to go and what to prioritise, avoiding the tendencies of resisting change or attempting to change too much at once.

  • Action

Finally, take action. Try new technologies and business models and experiment with new ways of engaging with customers and teams. If these experiments fail, take the time to learn and redesign. If they succeed, work out ways to fine tune or scale them up. This is something that we do jointly with our clients through our ‘StratHacks’ – or Strategic Hackathons. In these sessions, we bring CxO level executives together with developers and business consultants to work on a specific challenge and co-create a solution as a team.

Just as businesses that ignored the internet in the 1990s quickly became dinosaurs, those organizations that fail to pay attention to these digital shockwaves will find their business models no longer relevant in a few years. By following the steps above, organizations can ensure they’re prepped and ready to take on new challenges as this digital revolution takes hold. After that, we can only imagine what our quantum future will be like.

For more information on our quantum future, check out the latest version of Ascent Magazine, available now – atos.net/ascent-magazine

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About Jose Esteban Lauzán

Head of Innovation at Atos Iberia, founding member of the Atos Scientific Community, Atos Distinguished Expert and member of the Scientific Community
José is the Head of Innovation at Atos Iberia, Editor-in-Chief of Journey 2020, founding member of the Atos Scientific Community and Atos Distinguished Expert. He is passionate about Innovation and how it can transform business. Jose leads innovation activities in Spain & Portugal, including Innovation Workshops, pilots, proofs of concept and events or the Employee Start-Ups initiative. He leads the Systems & Solutions domain at global level. He also collaborates with the Executive Committee on corporate initiatives, with R&D and Markets in the transfer of successful results to the Atos portfolio, and with Legal departments in IP-related initiatives. José started his career as a researcher at university (simulation, DSP) and innovator at the Spanish Medicines Agency (leading its transformation into an electronic organization). He joined Atos in 2000, as chief engineer, manager of R&D teams and coordinator of large international projects in eHealth, natural risk management, video and human language technologies.

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