Business or Technology?

Farzad Nazifi

Are you a business that uses technology as an enabler or a technology company that focuses on an area of business?  Your persepctive fundamentally changes how you approach problems and the solutions that you envision.

Adam Jacob, at ChefConf 2018, said in his keynote:

When you think about the business, when you’re faced with something that is difficult, if what you are is a bank who uses technology, you use your definition of banking to limit what’s possible with technology.  Whereas if I’m at Google or Facebook, I was a technology company first so every problem is defacto a technology problem.

So how does changing your viewpoint change how you resolve problems?  I’m sure you’ve seen adds for Tangerine, an online bank.  They don’t really have branches as such, but they have “Tangerine Cafe’s” and even the pop-up kiosk.  Banking is done, as much as possible, through your phone (online, mobile, telephone).  The idea that a bank needs to have branches first and then scale out was thrown on its head.  Why bother?

By viewing everything through the lens of a technology company, as opposed to a public / private sector company you get a complete reversal of what needs to be in place.  Amazon pioneered the idea as they became a retail giant  … without having any stores.

How does this impact public sector?  Denmark introduced the idea of NemKonto (Easy Account).  Each citizen and organization registered in Denmark has a bank registered with the Danish Agency for Digitalisation.  Whenever you receive any benefits from the government, they get paid to this account.  This simplifies the process of paying benefits and ensures that the government has an idea as to which benefits are being claimed by which citizens.

If you want benefits, you need to have a NemKonto.  It’s as simple as that.

With a mobile workforce, a transient workforce, and the gig economy, is an address going to be consistent?

Instead of waiting to see what strikes the fancy of the citizens, perhaps the government should set the direction.  Instead of waiting for a critical mass of users, create the critical mass.  Don’t limit what can and can’t be done by the boundaries in which we place ourselves on a daily basis, think of yourselves as a technology company and how they would solve problem xxx.

In many respects this is the age old “think out of the box” scenario.  You know, where your boss comes up to you, asks you to solve a problem, and then, just before they walk away, they tell you to “think out of the box”.  The box may be bigger than you think, it may be the entire industry that your in.  Instead of thinking out of the box, think like a different company and see what the answer is.


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