It was American investor Warren Buffett who said, “We continue to make more money when snoring than when active.” This line of thought is not lost on many other financial experts who also favor long-term investments and believe “market timing” does not actually yield results and can be stressful, time-consuming, and risky. In fact, the strategy of long-term investments in the financial market can easily be applied to a B2B organization’s approach to investing in business innovation.
Consider a 401(k)-retirement savings plan. Ongoing, predictable contributions to a 401(k) account throughout an individual’s career aims to build a long-term, guaranteed path to a comfortable retirement. Likewise, continuous developments and investments in innovation can enable B2B organizations to keep up with, and even proactively address, the needs of a dynamic market.
What History Teaches Us
Past recessions have taught us a few things. Authors Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen studied the recessions of 1980, 1990, and 2000. In their book, Roaring Out the Depression, they wrote that 17 percent of companies didn’t survive, 74 percent came out the recession the same or weaker, and 9 percent come out stronger. How can we apply lessons learned from these drastic shifts in market leadership?
The keys to coming out of recessions in a better position than you started are seeing and understanding trends, developing a strategic vision around them, then evolving the company around that vision. It means embracing change. It also means making the right, strategic investments into an organization. Enabling it to identify disruptive trends, define successful strategies, simplify or even abandon outdated practices and to embrace new technologies that will enable new practices or business models driving the company closer toward its vision.
How Leading Companies Approach Technology Investments
Although the majority of innovations are driven by business, technology is often a catalyst for change and vital to predicting and proactively responding to trends in the market, across all industries.
According to a 2019 Forrester Consulting Study, digital transformation journeys continue to be a priority for enterprises. These organizations are increasingly optimizing existing processes to improve efficiency, extending processes to capture new value, and transforming business models to gain new revenue streams.
As companies seek competitive advantages and operational improvements, they are prioritizing innovative technologies. As such, leading B2B organizations are implementing or have already implemented innovative technologies to drive digital transformation:
- Internet of Things: 92 percent
- Artificial Intelligence: 78 percent
- Machine Learning: 77 percent
- Augmented reality/virtual reality: 70 percent
- Blockchain: 68 percent
According to the study, 92 percent of companies showed a high interest in platforms that unify data collected by, and used across, all intelligent technologies and business processes. Take I-D Foods, for example. This Canadian-based food service distributor continues to invest in advanced digital technologies that expose deep, real-time business insight that helps them better understand and predict demand. The company’s unified approach helped reduce stock, expand product offerings, increase availability and accelerate fulfillment times.
“We are always looking to improve and win more customers,” said Mike Issenman, CTO, ID Foods Corporation. “An important part of that is delivering great service. To achieve our future ambitions, we needed to adopt a platform that could offer deeper operational insight, greater agility, and superb scalability.”