The recent announcement that the BBC was going to reintroduce the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ title brought back many happy memories for me and I am sure many others. I was amazed to find the show ran from 1965 until 2003 and it undoubtedly formed an important part of many people’s childhoods. For me the very mention of the words conjures up images of the haunting but ‘modern’ intro music. At first it was Raymond Baxter but then for my generation it was Maggie Philbin who introduced us to some likely and other very unlikely visions of the future.
During my career I’ve been privileged to work with a small number of blue sky thinkers in the area of technology and have nothing but admiration for the type of mind that can create credible futuristic scenarios. Of course it is one thing to recognise the potential and limitations of technological change but another skill altogether to consider which of these technologies is likely to be widely adopted and what impact it will have on business (and within what timeframe).
I recently read an article that attributed the terms ‘disruptive technologies’ or ‘disruptive innovations’ to Harvard Professor Clay Christenson . He recognised the potential for the adoption of new technologies to change business models and to enable ‘an unassailable competitive advantage’.
At Glory our focus is on delivering technologies that will future proof your investment, providing solutions that best meet your customer needs, now and into the future.
Let’s take the example of the bank branch. For many years the very existence of a branch network was seen as delivering the bank competitive advantage. Indeed for some it was felt that this need for a physical presence acted as a barrier to competition in retail banking, as it was a necessary cost of doing business. When Reg Varney of ‘On the Buses’ fame opened the first ATM at a Barclays branch in Enfield (50 years ago next month!) few would recognise the long term implications for the branch network. In the intervening years large numbers of branches have closed with cost pressures (together with the take-up of new banking channels) being cited as a prime reason for closure. More than a half of UK bank branches have closed between 1989 and 2016.
When it comes to competitive advantage, though, a strong case can still be made for the branch, albeit a transformed version. Customers may be comfortable with new technologies, but that doesn’t mean they no longer wish to visit the branch. According to a survey by ComRes, around 70 per cent of customers in Great Britain still say it is important to have a branch close to where they live. The challenge is to provide the type of branch people want and to do so economically. This is disruptive technology that changes the way we bank but still enables us to choose where we wish to do so.
For us at Glory it’s about delivering the technology consumers want going forward. And for our partners? It’s what we mean by securing the future – delivering tomorrow’s world, where your customers want it.