Technology was at the core of the BIIA 2017 Biennial Conference.  Technology continues to drive the pace of innovation and competition.   We are watching trends with the help of affiliated institutions such as ARMADA Corporate Intelligence.  This is what they had to day recently:

There are three big trends that ARMADA is watching, and they need to be accounted for in this business cycle.  And they impact all of us

  1. The competitive divide is being rapidly accentuated. ARMADA started writing about this early last year and are speaking about it at conferences. The ability for certain competitors at the top of an industry to spend on innovation and technological advancement is staggering. It allows them to improve productivity and create competitive differences that are tough for others in the industry to replicate – or beat. That will usher in a wave of new failures and industry consolidation.

This doesn’t say that all winners will be big companies with big budgets. On the contrary, small companies with great innovative ideas and products will thrive – but will likely quickly get gobbled up by those with the money to invest in them, and then help them expand to reach the masses with their products. Just note how quickly someone in your industry uses these accelerated waves of innovation to create differentiation and advantages in price, offerings, service performance, all of it creating advantages in customer satisfaction, etc.

  1. Speed of change is staggering. You’ve heard this much of late. But, the speed of change an innovation is coming at such a fast pace that we can’t keep up with it. How you remain relevant in this is the big question.  And, disruptors will come at you from areas you might not even be expecting.  

Farmers didn’t believe that a threat to their business could come in the form of a small discovery of a “paste” that turns sand into soil. It makes farmland out of deserts.  But, that creates competition they would have never dreamed of. You get the idea.

  1. Job replacement trends are tough to factor in. We are way too early in this trend to understand how job replacement trends are affecting historic economic views. All we know is that there are odd anomalies in global economic metrics that don’t make sense. The world is growing at the fastest pace in more than a decade, and yet we don’t see rampant inflationary pressure building.

There is a record number of job openings and we are at full employment, but wages aren’t growing fast. It just doesn’t make sense. The only way to explain it is the thought of job replacement or shifts in buyer purchasing patterns.  Again, its so early in this phase that we can’t even explain the impacts in traditional economic data. Just know that its happening.

ARMADA’s analysts say that their concerns are long term.  From an US perspective this year and next perhaps should be great years for growth and investment, that still looks like it’s a safe estimate (barring some big event happening).  It’s these long-term threats that are different than any other cycle they have seen in the 19 years we’ve had Armada.

These trends are company killers. Armada will write more about this in coming quarters as more evidence emerges to back it up.  We just wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we weren’t trying to look around the corner for you.  Just stay up on the latest bits of innovation in your specific sector and look for movement in the periphery – especially if you can look at your industry from your customer’s perspective and ask yourself: is there anything lurking out there that could be a replacement for the product or service I offer?

It’s a tough question if you are being honest – because you must look at both direct and indirect competition.  The indirect competition being the toughest to see and understand. Who would have thought that auto sales would be impacted by a telephone app that linked available car capacity with people that needed to go places?

Courtesy ARMADA Corporate Intelligence

In the area of Job Replacement we are adding specific examples from the credit granting sector:  Who will be the future buyers of our information products?

Have we entered Robot Land?  We have not reached the tipping point where the rate of jobs being replaced by automation will outpace the number of jobs being created.   But the tipping point may not be too far off!