Around the world, numerous big brands have disappeared over the last few years, while others have fallen from market domination to also-rans, seemingly overnight. If we discount major accidents and Enron-style falls from grace, there are two main reasons. Firstly, the market ceases to exist or shrinks drastically (think Kodak’s consumer photography business), or second, a new or smaller player substantially disrupts the market

The topic of transformation was high on the agenda at our recent event, and with good reason. Market disruption might be hazardous, but it also presents an opportunity for new and established businesses that are prepared to continually reinvent themselves.

BMW is no stranger to innovation, and Stuart Jaffray, General Manager Marketing for BMW Australia, talked at our event about how the luxury motor company stays ahead. The brand might have been around for almost a century, but the German car-maker maintains its attraction by exploring new technologies while maintaining very high quality standards.

A highlight of the event was a look at BMW’s new i8 sports car. The i8 embodies the focus on transformation by combining BMW’s world-beating design with the latest in hybrid technology, creating a performance car with the fuel consumption of a compact. Stuart’s presentation acknowledged the importance of company culture and tradition in forging a path to the future. Hybrid or not, if a car has a BMW badge, the customer has an expectation of something special. The petrol heads amongst us agreed that the i8 well and truly delivers.

Of course, innovation is not limited to mega-brands. Small and medium businesses face very similar challenges – and the smartest are focusing on becoming agile enough to grasp opportunities. At our event, Computer Merchants Managing Director Norm Jefferies made a plea for IT leaders to help their organisations to get across the systems that can transform businesses. Many of the most innovative thinkers are hiding their light under a bushel – or at least, under a growing mass of servers.

With ever-tighter budgets and conflicting demands, finding time for business transformation is no mean feat, of course, but technologists are very often the best equipped to lead innovation in their businesses.

Norm outlined why businesses should own their digitisation strategy – nobody knows your business like you do. He shared some steps that even smaller businesses can take to ensure they stay relevant in changing times – something he knows from our own experience at Computer Merchants.

Wrapping up the evening, we took a look at how to make sure transformation doesn’t open up security vulnerabilities. Led by Glen Gooding from IBM Security Services, the discussion covered how to identify and avoid potential risks, and introduce healthy security habits to your business. There are four basic (free) things any business can do to improve security – follow our LinkedIn page for more about these recommendations soon.

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