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Could You Be Digitally Disrupted? How Technological Change Could Affect Your SME

16 February 2016

If you have heard Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, give a speech, chances are you have heard all about digital disruption. In fact, the phrases digital disruption and digital economy have become far more common in the past year, not just with politicians, but in newspapers and trade publications as well.

So what does it all mean?

Digital Disruption Explained

Digital disruption is a term that was coined by an academic some years ago. It refers to the process where technology takes the place of a part or whole of a business, replacing it with a more efficient solution. It might sound a bit high-tech, but the truth is we already live with dozens of examples of digital disruption.

For example, Carsales and Gumtree are both digital disrupters. The businesses they disrupted were traditional newspapers, and the wide-ranging “classifieds” sections that they published regularly.

Now digital disruption is moving “downstream” and affecting smaller businesses, including small and medium sized enterprises. But some industries are more at risk of disruption than others.

Real Estate

Arguably, real estate has already gone through one big digital disruption with the likes of Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au being the dominant place for advertising of new homes.

But a range of consumer to consumer websites is threatening to further cut the market share of real estate agents. An example of a consumer to consumer, or C2C site is Gumtree or eBay, where buyer and seller interact without the need for a shopkeeper or agent. Similarly, Flatmates.com.au and Rent.com.au allow landlords to find tenants, and vice versa, without needing a real estate agent.

In addition, sites like Buymyplace.com.au allow homeowners to sell their houses without the need for an agent, generating a huge saving in commissions of around $15,000 for the average home sale.

Restaurants and Cafes

Restaurants and cafes are a multibillion dollar industry in Australia, tapping into our love of eating out and socialising. However delivery apps like Deliveryhero and Menulog are enabling customers to order food to be delivered from their favourite local eateries from their smartphones or tablets.

These websites take a portion of restaurant revenue in exchange for making the ordering process simple.

Delivery Services

Courier and delivery services face the same level of digital disruption as cabs did several years ago. In the United States, contractors for hire can deliver food, packages, and even flowers on demand for small businesses and medium sized enterprises.

This example shows that disruption can be a good thing. For example, a local florist could use contract drivers on a per job basis to deliver flowers at a fraction of the cost of having their own van and employee.

How can we help you?

If you would like any business planning or financial advice, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at Scott Partners today on 1300 365 455 to book an appointment. Our friendly, experienced and professional team is ready to help.

 

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