The current situation that all businesses are in is what is being termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR-4). It is the revolution of computers, the Internet, mobile, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)
No business will survive without embracing the IR-4 and that means embracing all things computer and software.
When I say embrace computers and software, I don't mean your desktop computer and Microsoft and Excel. That technology, while still useful today, was 1990’s technology. Today businesses must embrace computer and software technology that is always at hand, around the clock and be supported by cloud based platforms. Some of those platforms are enhanced with AI/ML making them even more powerful for businesses.
What is your business doing about IR-4?
Many businesses are struggling with advance computer technology or are struggling with their thinking about that technology. Many business owners I talk to don’t understand they are deep into IR-4 and their competition is using IR-4 technology to compete against them. Many, if not most, who are using advanced computer technology are winning and leaving the competition behind.
Some businesses are using IR-4 technology to make their internal practices superior and thus producing hidden “marginal utility”. Meaning, as a competitor, you many never see that technology and not know why your competition is winning.
Some businesses are using IR-4 technology to better engage with their customers. They are using mobile apps and cloud based software to connect with their customers. This can be easy to identify because those businesses are very open about what they are doing by marketing their software to their customers. What you can’t see is how that connection is adding value for their customers.
Why are small businesses investing in custom software? Why are you not?
Businesses have been creating custom software for decades. In the early days they had no choice. As technology progressed, businesses could purchase software to help their business. Somethings they could use “right out of the box” without any changes or sometimes they needed to make some specific enhancements for their business.
Today that software strategy will bring your business up to market standards, meaning you will simply be keeping pace with your competition. It will not likely give you a competitive advantage if other businesses are using the same software.
Building custom software for your business is more likely to give you superior advantage over your competition if done effectively, strategically and competitively. In a future blog post I will share my thoughts on why custom software is an advantage for your business.