98% of UK Business Executives Believe Their Industry is Changing

NetSuite Study Reveals UK Businesses Need to Respond Faster to New Disruptive Competitors, Digitalisation, New Business Models and Productisation/Servitisation to Remain Viable

LONDON, Nov. 10, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — NETSUITE SUITECONNECT -- NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry's leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced that 98 percent of UK executives questioned in a recent survey believe their industry is changing – with 28 percent stating their industry is changing rapidly. The research study titled 'Disrupt, Collapse, Transform: The Role of the Cloud in Industry Transformation' was sponsored by NetSuite, and conducted by global industry analyst firm Frost & Sullivan. Yet, despite this high level of recognition of industry change, the survey found that UK executives are somewhat more complacent about the need to adapt their organisations – only 20 percent of those surveyed believe change needs to happen much faster than in the past, compared with 22 percent globally.

The study also revealed the four key drivers of industry change in the UK and around the world as new disruptive competitors, digitalisation, new business models, and productisation/servitisation (product companies adding services business/services businesses packaging their services like products). UK organisations are responding to these challenges by adopting cloud computing for its greater adaptability to facilitate rapid industry transformation. Among respondents, 72 percent of UK cloud-based software users told Frost & Sullivan that cloud has provided them with a competitive advantage over their rivals – particularly with regard to entering new markets -- and has helped them react more quickly and effectively to change.

The Frost & Sullivan study of 1,500 senior executives across multiple industry sectors in seven countries – the UK, Australia, Singapore, the US, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines -- was conducted in October 2014 to examine the drivers for disruption across all industries and how modern businesses are responding to that disruption – 200 of the surveyed participants were from the UK.

"The pace of transformation in UK industry is very high and accelerating," said Alexander Michael, Director of Consulting for Frost & Sullivan. "Widespread cloud adoption has helped UK companies make the most of the new business models that emerged as a result of the digital revolution. Coupled with shifting economic conditions, the need to constantly innovate and to accelerate time to value, organisations simply need to be more efficient and adaptable in order to survive."

Drivers for industry transformation

Survey respondents in the UK and around the world identified four significant disruptive drivers that are impacting their businesses and leading them to transform their businesses. The four drivers were:

  • New disruptive competitors (cited by 48 percent of UK survey respondents)
  • Digitalisation (cited by 36 percent of UK survey respondents)
  • New business models (cited by 28 percent of UK survey respondents)
  • Productisation/Servitisation (cited by 26 percent of UK survey respondents)

Companies are keenly aware that the advent of cloud computing has significantly contributed to the advancement of these disruptive drivers by enabling industry transformation. Survey respondents also highlighted other factors for change including changing customer needs, new regulations impacting their specific industry, and the increasing costs of doing business.

Companies need to respond to the emergence of new disruptive competitors

New market competitors have shaken up many UK industries, including media and retail. In many instances, these new entrants are using cloud computing to quickly establish operations, scale up those businesses, and build out their geographic reach. Market incumbents need to be able to respond at a similar lightning speed to compete effectively with fast-moving cloud-powered startups.

  • 58 percent of UK survey respondents have experienced the entry of a new disruptive competitor into their industry in the past five years.

Companies need to make effective use of digitalisation

Digitalisation is the use of digital channels to do business, sell to customers, or transact with suppliers. According to Frost & Sullivan, online retail sales in the UK now account for 12 percent of all retail sales – the highest percentage in the world. Digitalisation is occurring in all industries with 18 percent of UK businesses surveyed now taking orders over the Internet representing total online sales of 164 billion pounds. According to Frost & Sullivan, online business in the UK is growing at almost 25 percent per year. Among those surveyed in the UK, 11 percent are selling directly to consumers (B2C), 56 percent are selling directly to other businesses (B2B), and 27 percent are selling to customers via wholesalers, retailers, and distributors (B2B2C).

  • 11 percent of UK survey respondents are currently selling online to customers.
  • 22 percent of UK survey respondents do not currently sell online to customers but do plan to do so in future.
  • 36 percent of UK survey respondents expect to change their distribution channels within the next 12 months.
  • Of those planning to change their distribution channels, 44 percent are likely to sell directly to end-users, 68 percent are likely to use new distributors or wholesalers, and 39 percent are likely to sell online.
  • 62 percent of UK survey respondents believe the impact of digital change is very significant on their industry.

Companies need to embrace new business models

New business models continue to emerge, often enabled by cloud and other technologies including mobile broadband, 3D printing, and low-cost data sensors. These business models represent a significant competitive threat to established industries driving them to change the way in which they operate their businesses.

  • Frost & Sullivan identifies mass customisation within the manufacturing sector as a good example of a new business model set to impact the entire industry. The cost-effective customisation of goods and services for individual customers is being enabled by 3D printing as well as digitalisation, enabling customers and manufacturers to work more closely together.

Companies need to adopt productisation and/or servitisation to compete more effectively

Productisation occurs when service companies package their services in a similar way to how many products are presented. Servitisation is where product manufacturers also provide services and solutions that supplement their traditional product offerings. According to the survey:

  • Servitisation is a rapidly growing trend in the UK with 40 percent of UK manufacturing respondents now providing services and solutions that supplement their traditional product offerings. This puts the UK manufacturers a little behind their US peers (58 percent), but well ahead of Japan (31 percent) and China (20 percent).
  • 40 percent of UK product businesses surveyed either provide services now or think they will need to do so in the future.
  • 51 percent of UK services businesses surveyed either provide products now or think they will need to do so in the future.  

In summary: the cloud enables companies to transform their businesses and adapt to change
The majority of UK executives see cloud computing as a response to the rapid pace of industry change. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed in the UK describe cloud computing as representing an opportunity for their business as compared with their peers in the US (62 percent), Japan (59 percent), and Australia (48 percent). Already, 43 percent of UK respondents said they are accessing elements of their business management software over the cloud, with cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) and ecommerce the business applications they most commonly use. The adoption of cloud computing in the UK is second only to that in the US.

Frost & Sullivan believes that cloud computing is both a contributor to industry transformation, as well as a necessary response for organisations to survive. According to the research, greater adaptability to industry change is now a main driver of SaaS adoption in the UK.

"Given industries are changing so quickly in such an unpredictable way, companies need to have the ability to adapt extremely quickly to launch new products and services, come up with new revenue or business models and access new geographical markets," commented Frost & Sullivan's Alexander Michael . "That adaptability is being enabled by cloud computing – it has become a necessary response to the rapid pace of transformation."

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