The Downside of Digital

As we are constantly reminded, digital creates opportunities across the enterprise. For example, the mobile channel coupled with big-data driven insights and straight-through-processing can revolutionise the customer experience. But digital can also pose threats. Information transparency depresses margins (e.g., most consumers research price online before purchasing in a store). Disintermediation is a threat in ‘non-physical’ sectors (e.g., online aggregators). Start-ups are taking share through innovative, often lower cost, business models (e.g. Free mobile in France). In some cases, value will be redistributed between sectors as digital drives restructuring (e.g., motor manufacturers use black boxes to take value from insurers, pay-pal takes payments profits from banks). Our research suggests that in some sectors the downside eclipses the upside. For example, we found that one telco stands to gain up to 20% additional profits through exploiting digital, but stands to lose over 40% if the market evolves as we expect. The implication for our clients is clear – becoming digital is not an option. Its an imperative.

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