Disrupt or be disrupted

At my local Woolies, a Video Ezy DVD Kiosk has popped up in front of the main entrance. I took one look at it, confused and slightly frightened, wondering when I had travelled back in time, fearing Netflix no longer existed. It does, I logged a few hours of Vikings, and all order was restored.

I suddenly felt sad for Video Ezy. What are they thinking peddling DVDs when the industry has suffered from a continued decline due to wide adoption of streaming platforms – I’ve moved beyond the DVD to digital entertainment, why didn’t they?  

There are a myriad of reasons, but really, they weren’t able to change in order to stay relevant to their market. But this wasn’t an overnight decline, it was a long steady burn.
Netflix actually took it’s time to get footing in the market. Launching in 1998, it didn’t start to breakdown the traditional video rental business model until it launched streaming in 2007. From there we saw global DVD vendor decline, now there is only one Blockbuster store in the US and in Australia, we are mainly left with kiosks.

Why? Because Netflix continued to be progressive by adopting digital practices and reimagining ways of doing things. They are an upstanding example of a business born before services went digital, continually innovating, listening to their market and going all in.  

Traditional business processes are consistently confronted with emergent technology and to survive, it’s vital to explore the possibilities of technology, challenge existing practices and be open to change.

This change is about looking for ways to use technology to improve performance, whether that means creating new core business applications or reconceptualising current processes. For example, real estate giant Oliver Hume recently challenged tradition by making the land purchasing process more accessible via a digital system and moving a number of face to face sales processes online.

Being a digital business is an ongoing process. Companies, like Netflix and Oliver Hume, do it well because they are constantly reviewing, optimising, and reconfiguring to deliver more relevant services or to meet changing market demands.

Modern business is in a constant state of flux, companies need to stay current with new technologies, trends and ideas to remain competitive and move forward. Perhaps if Video Ezy had started the change process somewhere in the early 2000s, and began responding to customer demand, they wouldn’t be reduced to kiosks.

I look back at rental days with a certain nostalgia. I loved choosing four weeklies and two overnights – it was the highlight of the week. But I’m not going back to that after experiencing streaming, I’ll continue travelling into the future.