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The I Love APIs City Tour: Embrace the New Market Context

Feb 05, 2015

In a previous post, we discussed some conspicuous cases of digital disruption, and how certain companies failed to adapt to the new market context. Here, we'll explore how businesses have become digital leaders by embracing new paradigms.

Turning market changes into digital leadership

Walgreens has used the phrase “putting an API on our stores” to describe the way they’ve married the competencies that made them successful in the past with new skills and customer experiences suited to a digitally transformed environment.  Walgreens had a long-established program to encourage healthy behavior among customers by offering loyalty reward points for, as an example, logging a blood pressure reading online. With the new Balance Rewards program, customers can connect their IoT device (like a Jawbone Up24) to the program, receive rewards for activity, and check progress against their goals from Walgreens’ award-winning mobile app.

McCormick talks about their flavor scientists working with data scientists and digital experience designers to create their FlavorPrint platform. Their description of this first-of-its-kind move in their industry reflects not just keen observation of how apps are influencing consumer behavior but also how digital impacted other sectors: “There have been algorithms to help people discover new music, new movies, but no one had figured out how to do this for food.”

Honoring your organization's past

Neither company—each with over 100 years of history—abandoned the past proven practices that made them successful. It’s apparent that Walgreens still has a strong competency optimally siting physical stories. McCormick’s flavor scientists are surely still on the job as they have been for decades. But those past practices alone would have been insufficient to take full advantage of the new digital resources in the environment—and how consumer behavior is changing as a result. 

Those who become disrupters stay faithful to what won them market share and loyalty in past, but work aggressively “outside in” to identify the organizational changes necessary to extend that position in a new market context.  McKinsey & Company describes a great example of a legacy practice that may made perfect sense in the past, but not in our digitally transforming world:

“When a retailer recently tried to launch a new e-commerce business, it found itself stymied by the fact that IT-spending amounts were capped as a percentage of revenue and by a lengthy and cumbersome approval process for new projects. The retailer’s board responded by creating a new budgeting and approval process in which projects supporting major digital strategic thrusts are now treated separately from the rest of the IT budget.”

Like Walgreens and McCormick, this company adapted. We believe this is something any enterprise can do, so we want to share what we’ve learned in order to help you lead yours on its journey from disrupted to disrupter.

We hope you’re interested not only hearing what we’ve learned, but also sharing your perspective and engaging in a dialogue that moves the state of the art forward, whether online or live and in person. So join us at the I Love APIs City Tour, or if you're across the pond, we’ll have a full day on digital transformation strategy at I Love APIs Europe in March.

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