The digital transformation - How is it affecting big corporations?

19 of January of 2016

The digital transformation has burst into our lives in different forms- in photos, books and music. All the while the internet penetration rate continues to increase. There are numerous examples bearing witness to this transformative phenomenon. A range of companies with different backgrounds, but with one common factor: the digitalisation of business.

Uber, a company based in San Francisco, has garnered the criticism of taxi-drivers across the world, revolutionising this traditional sector with the development of an app that connects passengers with the drivers registered on its platform. After a series of legal wrangling, Uber is once again operating in Spain this year with an updated app, UberX, aimed at people or companies with VTC (vehicles with drivers) licences. This model is already being successfully used by Cabify, the Spanish start-up which is also revolutionising urban transport.

Airbnb, the holy grail of the tourist sector. Valued at more than 10,000m USD, the biggest hotel chain in the world does not have a single hotel. Airbnb bases its business on new technologies and the emergence of the latest social trends such as the sharing economy. Once again an app is what links tourists with the landlords that are renting or sharing their properties.

The collaborative economy and the digital transformation of services are becoming increasingly responsible for landing the entire banking sector in hot waters. In this case, however, the banks have been anything but slow to react, and their investment in technological start-ups that add value to their services is now an everyday occurrence: new payment methods, crowdsourcing, p2p loans, crowdlending, etc. New digital financial services which consumers have had no problem embracing with open arms.

Digitalisation has arrived and it is here to stay. A radical change which is brewing in the offices of the CEOs of all organisations, given that it affects all businesses across the whole value chain. As we have seen in these examples, no sector is a stranger to this transformation.

New technologies have encouraged the emergence of new agents in an increasingly digital market, where entry is easy and the first to arrive reap the richest rewards.

Does the digital transformation of business affect companies like Ferrovial? Without a doubt. Could Goliath come away from David’s attacks unscathed? Large-scale corporations must learn to extract value from digital and identify the digital contact points in their value chain.

Of the problems that large-scale corporations may encounter when it comes to defining their digital strategy, the one that often stands out is a lack of familiarity with the technology. One of the ways of tackling this transformation process is to seek out partners with digital skills, or source talent in these specialised areas. In either case, in order for this transformation to take place, it is necessary to lay foundations at organisational level, along with processes and technology, and promote them continuously.

Open innovation may help us to meet these needs, because for years corporations have specialised in the active sourcing of strategic partners capable of driving change and speeding up innovation, seeking out that collaborative space in which the best of each organisation is allowed to bloom: the agility of the start-up and the robustness of a great corporation.


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