In a connected world your customer may be a competitor
Is Amazon a tech company or a distribution company? That apparently mattered to shipping giant Maersk when it was choosing a provider for its “digital transformation.” Maersk, worried about Amazon’s distribution plans, went with Microsoft Azure over Amazon’s web services, according to this Fortune article.
Maersk will use a mix of cloud-based and on-premise Microsoft Azure services, including its IoT platform, to track shipments from shipper to recipient over ports, containers and ships. Maersk has actually been working with AT&T for at least two years on some IoT and connectivity efforts to track containers on ships, so this move is less of an announcement of Maersk getting hip to digital than Microsoft’s win of a large cloud customer.
As everything becomes more digital we’re going to see more of these competitive worries come into play. Businesses trying to navigate these waters will have to quickly clarify what value they bring to the table and what customers are willing to pay for it.
Google’s challenges with the automotive industry are an example of this tension. Automotive companies were reluctant to integrate Google’s technology into their vehicles because they didn’t want to give valuable data to Mountain View. With that data, Google might make an autonomous vehicle or even launch a transportation service that eliminates the need for car ownership. Nothing feels too far-fetched in these current times of digital upheaval.
The insurance industry and financial industry are also looking askance at the tech companies–worried that their cloud or software providers might enter into a space that they feel is theirs. In the digital world, it’s becoming increasingly clear, that every aspect of a company’s business has a potential to be disrupted.
As more and more companies adopt automation and get a clear view of their operations, the more threatened they are going to feel.