The Impact of Digital Transformation on… Business Models

Digital, Opinion, UX

The age of Attention Scarcity (information overload) is coming to an end: 2017 will see the beginning of a slow transition to a new era brought about by Digital Transformation, where our productivity is augmented automatically, leaving us more time to live our real lives. Hooray!

New technologies and advancements in UX design have accelerated the speed of this so-called 4th Industrial Revolution, so that we are now experiencing the consequences in business and society. In a series of three blog posts I will take a look at what digital transformation means to:

  1. Business Models
  2. Future of Work
  3. Society

1) Business Models: The Sharing Economy

Over the past five years we have seen the introduction of major disrupters Uber and Airbnb. Driven by people’s need for simplicity, personalisation and good value – Uber and Airbnb have seen unprecedented success and are now branching out into UberEats and Airbnb ‘experiences’.

Airbnb Experiences in San Francisco
Ref: San Francisco Chronicle

Unlike traditional companies these disrupters are based on the sharing economy by enabling consumers to rent out a person’s own capital and time, (eg cars, houses, parking spaces) rather than buying from large corporate brands.

This has been made possible as a result of one of the key principles of good user experience design – automate as much as possible; only make the user do essential work. In the past, people have struggled to share their time and capital because of the huge amounts of effort involved in managing the process. However, as platforms like Airbnb remove these effort barriers to sharing, and following the backing from the European’s Commission Report in June 2016, more and more people are getting on board.

While the sharing economy business model has been full of controversy, opposition and debate the success of Airbnb and Uber is proof that sharing platforms are a plausible business model. They’re also now big enough entities to influence society’s mental model of the sharing economy, i.e. most people now understand the concept. This makes it very easy to explain and sell another sharing platform (“it’s like the Airbnb of space rockets”) and opens up opportunities for good UX design across other shareable goods and services. If you’re a UX entrepreneur looking to make some money in 2017, pick a product or service that isn’t being put to use 100% of the time and design an easy way for people to share their surplus with others, such as the online education tools Udemy and Skillshare.

Embracing Digital Transformation in 2017

Working at the #2 Digital Elite Agency 2016 my colleagues and I play our part in digital transformation everyday. This year we are looking forward to seeing how technology and UX not only improves users’ digital experiences, but impacts business models, the way people work and society. As a UX community we need to harness and develop the positive transformations, and reduce and manage the negative disruptions.

The Impact of Digital Transformation… on Work and Society

Read more on the impact of digital transformation in the following part of this blog series 2) Future of work and part 3) Society.

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