3 Ways To Disrupt Your Own Business (And How To Spot The Opportunities It Presents)

Dan Stevens

The opportunities afforded by disrupting business as usual can be immense. But it’s not always easy to spot them. At SAP Hybris Live, we found out how businesses with an eye on the future are using disruptive thinking to discover new ways of doing things.

Think about what your business really does – it may not be what you make or sell

Hershey’s makes chocolate, right? True, but Hershey doesn’t think of itself as a confectionary company. Carlos Amesquita, Hershey’s chief information officer, quotes the company’s former CEO as saying “Hershey is a knowledge company that happens to make chocolate.” So, it thinks of itself as a data-driven outfit that uses its depth of knowledge to sell a product.

Mars, also best known for its confectionery, actually derives 50% of its revenue from services. Asif Beg, the firm’s digital enterprise director, says that this is a huge opportunity. “Servicing is the way to get to the customer. This is the next disruptor for us.” For Mars, the fact that it spends so much time with customers offers a chance to talk to them and understand them better.

As the retail environment changes, where are the opportunities?

If your customers aren’t visiting physical stores, and that’s where you sell your products, how are you going to sell? There is no easy answer to this, but there’s a lot of opportunity, reckons Carlos Amesquita. “How does the tech revolution translate into impulse buying? If you don’t have checkouts, what happens to impulse buys? And what are the right models, when physical doesn’t exist, to do that? Whoever figures that out will win. It’s a fundamental disruptor.”

Get your product to customers and let them help you make it better

For Julie Collins, global head of digital at Alcon, which develops sight-improvement technology, getting a product out there is more important than getting a perfect product out there.

“A customer can’t react to something that’s locked up inside your company’s four walls,” she says. “Cheryl Sandberg says ‘done is better than perfect.’ We work toward a minimum viable product that’s safe, legal, and compliant, and then get it to the customer to help them help us improve it. Millennials want to play with things, and that’s a powerful tool.”

For more on this topic, see 4 Ways to Digitally Disrupt Your Business Without Destroying It.