3 min read

For many millennials and emerging Generation Z customers, the on-demand economy is so overarching that many have no idea what the world was like without instant consumer gratification.

The busy high street; queueing in shops; Blockbuster videos; Radio Rentals. All are redundant in the on-demand economy.

From instant video streaming on Netflix to online home delivery or travel services, people now have access to whatever they want, whenever they want it. Critics say on-demand is having a negative effect, promoting the gig economy and exploiting cheap labour at zero-hours contracts, but most people – and particularly young people – couldn’t care less so long as the goods arrive on time.

Driven by technology

This on-demand economy is driven by technology which allows businesses to satisfy consumer demands within seconds. Immediate access to text messages, social media conversations, Google searches and online comparison sites have created customers who expect speed and convenience, and businesses are falling over themselves to deliver – because if one business can’t, then another one can. As homes and lives become more interconnected, so the on-demand economy surfs the wave of tech products driven by the Internet of Things.

Spending on the on-demand economy in the US alone is estimated to have reached $57.6 billion by the end of 2017, up from $22 billion in 2015, according to Harvard Business Review. In the US, the on-demand economy has more than 22.4 million customers annually and that number is set to rise significantly.

Furthermore, the demands for quick, convenient, online services is not just the preserve of a few areas of business. Almost all sectors, including business to business (B2B), have now expanded into on-demand services.

The Industry 4.0 revolution

The Industry 4.0 revolution is helping to develop an industrial Internet of Things. In every business sector, artificial intelligence, smart devices and technology interact to improve supply chains, operations and decision-making –popularly called ‘lean thinking’.

About one-third of US industrial businesses have already digitalised their supply chains in support of Industry 4.0, and some three-quarters expect to go digital by 2020, according to PwC. It’s estimated that such measures will eradicate 70 percent of manufacturing failures and see an increase of productivity and quality of up to 30 percent

As a result, companies are being forced to think up more inventive ways to give customers what they want, when they want it, 24/7, while promoting quality and shaving costs. This huge rise in the on-demand economy – in retail and industry – goes some way to explain why the more innovative businesses are eager to capture as much of their customers’ data as possible.

Interestingly, as Uber, Amazon and Apple etc have found, the on-demand economy is intricately linked to how personal data is now captured and stored as businesses wise up to the benefits of data and artificial intelligence. Recent initiatives such as the imminent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have helped companies to understand the value of their data and the huge business benefits of encouraging customers to entrust their data for either goods or services provided.

SCC realises the complexities of adapting networks for agility and provides a brace of services to ensure that customers can service their own customers in ever more innovative ways. For businesses yet to embrace an agile network model, implementation to enable full-scale digital transformation is critical for companies to join the on-demand economy. SCC is able to help any business in any sector innovate and adjust to future requirements as the Internet of Things drives companies to evolve into lean operations – as well as develop into efficient businesses focused on the on-demand economy.

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