THE MARKET REMAINS THE ONLY DISRUPTIVE POWER
(OPINION PIECE BY JÜRGEN MAYERHOFER IN THE ZFK 9/2017)
My professional career began in the midst of the upheaval of the Austrian energy industry—since October 2002 customers can freely choose their energy provider for gas and electricity. The term “disruption” did not yet exist in this sense, however, the definitions currently prevalent describe the market changes at that time perfectly. As so-called digitalisation projects are side effects of disruptions, I managed to quickly and successfully master this subject as well. We developed online portals, replaced fax communication and automated business processes, surviving disruption and moving on from digitalisation.
Things which 15 years ago needed to be enforced using regulations are now actively desired by market participants. The illustrious models come from sectors whose structures were not bound by infrastructure, whose goods were not digital, whose regulations were not rigid or whose market structures were not efficient. There is a multitude of technological topics which carry this disruptive hope with them. Big Data, Analytics, the Internet of Things, the Cloud, Blockchain and co. are an integral part of digitalisation and are the Holy Grails of recent years. These topics, or creative combinations of them, are on the agendas of CEOs or are represented in strategy papers and embody the energy industry’s frantic search for disruptive business models, unsurprisingly without success. Would they, 15 years ago, have placed their hope in new business models on the technological basis of e-mail, HTTP and databases?
As long as sources of energy cannot be delivered by drones and gas storage cannot be moved to the cloud or every consumer does not turn into a prosumer with their own battery storage device, the competitive advantage, as back then, lies in efficient processes as well as innovative products and services, enabled by the intelligent use of technology. The market is, and remains, the only disruptive power.
Opinion piece published in in: ZfK 09/2017; © 2017 ZfK – Zeitung für kommunale Wirtschaft. VKU Verlag GmbH München/Berlin
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