There was an interesting announcement in the news recently about Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, restructuring and reorganizing the business. I found it very interesting that he stated that he will spend more time personally involved in the digital strategy and innovation within Starbucks.
Starbucks has historically been known as a fairly innovative company. They’ve been leading the way in storefront properties with their mobile payments and the way they interact with their customers using software. Their use of digital and mobile means in their traditional business is forward-thinking and always has been.
But isn’t it interesting that despite their lead in this area, despite being known as a fairly innovative company, the CEO thinks he needs to be directly involved? Schultz has realized that the software aspects of their business are so important that he needs to personally be involved in pushing them forward. He has prioritized it to the degree that he is restructuring the organization to allow him to spend more time in these areas of the business.
I think this speaks to the transformation that is fundamentally taking place within all industries today. Our society is becoming a digital society. All businesses are becoming digital business. There is no longer a “technology” sector. Technology is colliding head-first with all sorts of industries and businesses. Digital is the way we now do business. It is a staple.
Starbucks is one example. You can also look at all sorts of other businesses, like Nike. Nike has evolved into a digital and information business, as opposed to an apparel business. Everything they sell now is somehow integrated into their ability to collect and sell information back to you. Sure, they still have the standard athletic apparel but what is it that they’re advertising? What is it that they’re actually pushing forward with? It’s things like the Nike+ FuelBand.
We can look at all sorts of businesses for examples of the integration and innovation of digital and technology into the fabric of how we do business. We see Amazon in the retail space, definitely reinventing retail and even wholesale in the way that using digital is a new means. This is a fundamental change that is taking place in the economy, not just in one industry or another.