Interview: Optimity Advisors and the alternative path for digital Special

Posted Dec 2, 2017 by Tim Sandle
Businesses large and small must not allow the Googles and Apples of the world to dictate the digital path society and business follows, according to consultancy firm Optimity Advisors. We spoke with them to find out why.
Eye-catching sign on the window of the Wellcome Centre in London  September 2017.
Eye-catching sign on the window of the Wellcome Centre in London, September 2017.
Rick McNabb leads worldwide consulting firm Optimity Advisors and the company thinks there's more than one path towards digital transformation to that spearheaded by the big players. In fact, Optimity thinks that alternate routes might well be better for many businesses.
To discover more about an alternative digital vision, Digital Journal caught up with Rick McNabb.
Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview. What are some of the advantages of digital transformation for businesses?
Rick McNabb: We are witnessing a new epoch impacting the world, e.g., society, as well as, business. For those that can see this event, great value or wealth is available for those that can benefit from the market disruption. These events in history have been few in number. The evidence is clear that most businesses eventually wake up to the fact after the opportunity is too late to obtain.
DJ: What types of opportunities can present themselves?
McNabb: Primarily new business models based on satisfying consumer and market unmet needs or needs yet to be acknowledged. These opportunities can cost-effectively scale at a world level with no necessarily imposed geographic boundaries. There is evidence that these new business models are breaking through traditionally restricted and regulated markets.
DJ: Should all businesses be set to embrace digital transformation?
McNabb:No industry is immune from digital. Each industry sector is evolving at a different rate. The key question is to determine the organization's strategic ability to change and where to play timing wise in the competitive life cycle. To ignore digital will eventually disintermediate the company and/or industry. The competition will come from outside the existing competitor landscape and/or smaller niche companies.
Most traditional companies will not see that event until too late. The real issue to discuss is the existing infrastructure in the companies and their ability to change. Some infrastructure will require years to prepare. The real message is you cannot wait too long or you will never catch up when you decide to change. Green field operating environments may be the best choice in transforming the business.
DJ: Which sectors are facing the greatest disruption?
McNabb:Healthcare and Life Sciences, Media and Communications, Consumer Goods, and Transportation are good examples in various stages today. However, with new business models, these industries and others will be rewritten with new stakeholders. Digital transformation is about rewriting the “rules”.
DJ: Which sectors have responded most successfully to the changes?
McNabb:Media, consumer goods, and transportation are good examples today. But we are just witnessing the beginning. As we evolve into the Digital Epoch there will be much discussion on social and ethical issues surrounding this new epoch. How we answer these questions will determine how we continue to evolve.
DJ: What would you say to business leaders who are fearful of digital disruption?
McNabb:Begin to experience. Learn by doing. Integrate with new people from outside the company to evolve your thinking. Without new thinking, a company will never break free of the legacy business model. There is not an official guide at this point to assist business leaders to change. The rules and results are still evolving. Don’t wait too long or you will never catch up.
DJ: Are there risks of major corporations setting the arena within which smaller companies have to operate?
McNabb:No, smaller companies will begin the change in order to “grab” business from the market disruption and ultimately, new players will emerge from outside the industry. With new business models, new stakeholders emerge, thus providing the ultimate force for change.
DJ: How can smaller businesses adapt and influence the expanding digital world?
McNabb:Utilizing the opportunities the digital epoch is providing to find new markets and customer niches. The collective results will be evolving business models and competitors that will eventually force the large players to change.
DJ: What types of services does Optimity Advisors offer?
McNabb:We offer full transformation services, both digital and traditional, interlacing principles of design thinking, lean startup, collective intelligence and agile methodologies. These services can be offered via a number of venues including innovation incubators and labs, green field new business builds and operating models and traditional on-site collaboration models.
We offer risk mitigation services from strategy to design and development to full implementation support. We pride ourselves on delivering strategic value from beginning to end.
DJ: Which technologies do you see as driving the most significant changes across businesses?
Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality and augmented reality. Plus other collective intelligence technologies, blockchain architectures, robotics, mobile communication, and drones.