Software powers the World

Software may just be your company’s most valuable asset

Galaxy S5 - Business Insider - Photo Credit Steve KovachFounded in 2009, WhatsApp is being purchased for $ 17bi by Facebook. It has 55 employees and 450 Mi users. This represents $ 350 Mi per employee and $ 40 per free user. This instant messaging mobile application was founded by Jan Koum & Brian Actoum only 5 years ago.

Also founded in 2009, Uber is redefining the regulated taxi business in over 70 cities in the world. Uber makes booking a ride easy, fast and reliable for the user and for the taxi driver. It has booked about $ 1 bi in rides in 2013. Their unique user experience and smart pricing might make you reconsider why you should still own a car or take public transportation.

Your sharpest competitor is most likely to be 2 engineers backed by a VC, working in their garage. Altogether, they are likely to understand your industry well enough to build software that could permanently disrupt some parts of your business. We see this happening in every industry.

Companies should be well prepared to combat this software disruption. As Steve Jobs told 100 top-managers: “the best way to beat competition is to make the absolute very best product. Your competition will no choice but to follow you”.

Software is worth the effort. Software requires the involvement of many smart people to be become super-efficient and cover all the aspects of business. The beauty of software is that it works reliably 24/7 for minimal costs. Good software is hard to build, and complex to fine tune.

Many managers legitimately claim to lead software & digital initiatives

Internally, many “Chiefs” in top level positions from the Chief Information Officer, the Chief Digital Officer, the Chief Operation Officer, the Chief Sales Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer to the Chief People Officer…  are eager to lead the various digital initiatives.

The truth is that very few people really know about software & digital. It has been become so sophisticated that it is worth finding genuine specialist. Let us take the simple example of using Twitter for business development. Recently, I decided to be a little more serious about using Twitter for our business development. As a former VP at Amazon, I thought I knew more about technology than I actually did, and I was confident that I could learn what I needed on the go. Once I got started, my conclusion was “no way”.

It is hard to find the ones who really know

To start, I have been trying to get help from experts. I was surprised to find so many self-proclaimed specialists who know so little. After a basic question such as – how many tweets did you send last week? It was obvious that some of those experts did not know much more than I did.

The more I dug, the more impressed I was by the benefits that a few smart, sophisticated users were getting from Twitter based on their hard work and well-thought-out approaches. Their attention to detail is making a big difference in how valuable a digital media such as Twitter is as a tool.

I would like to thank Marylene, Natacha, Frédéric and Sacha for their inspiring help and support. I was amazed by their knowledge and attention in training me. They helped me discover a few relatively-unknown tools such as HootSuite, SocialBro or Newsle which are great for saving time, posting on several social media sites and collecting relevant business information.

Even though Twitter might look simple to use, like many tools in software and digital, finding rare hard-working, well-trained experts to learn from makes the difference.

To summarize

Being a delighted customer of Amazon.com or using a fantastic app on your iPhone is not the same as running an eCommerce site or building a great mobile app. It might seem easy. It is not. Software and Digital are game changers that have become highly sophisticated. They require hard work from smart, experienced specialists. The good news is that those specialists now exist!

About Thomas Lot

Thomas Lot is the CEO & Founder of The Official Board. In his own executive roles as head of Apple Europe's retail team and then VP of Amazon Europe, Thomas understood the value of executive networking and recognized the need for clear company org. charts. As he helped many friends get in touch with executives, he came up with the solution of a comprehensive database for research and networking. Now, with the org charts of all the medium & large companies displayed on The Official Board, many more friends and executives can benefit from his introductions.

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