The recent 2017 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting offered some insights into how Warren Buffett thinks about stocks, especially those of large digital companies. I thought it important to explore these, given the rise of Digital Enterprises. When we think of Digital Enterprises, leaders like Google, Apple, Amazon, and even Microsoft come to mind. What do Digital Enterprises do that allows such dominance? Let’s explore.
Take-Away: Examine your business for revenue growth. Does your revenue move linearly with labor? If explore how to you use automation to reduce labor and gain new revenue. Examine critical business processes for opportunities for improvement and efficiency.
Take-Away: All revenue comes from the customer. With that in mind, you have to measure your customer. What do they do? What do they do even when they don’t buy? Measuring customers is easier in a digital platform, like an app or website. Use that data not just for marketing, but for operations, business growth, and even acquisitions.
Take-Away: Look at your most labor-intensive processes, and find ways to remove the labor. Voice recognition, app interfaces, self-service through mobile ordering, automation through design are all examples of labor-saving approaches.
Take-Away: When you have an operating advantage, exploit it. The parallel to sports is appropriate. In football, why should a team run the ball often, because the defense cannot stop it. Why should you leave an advantaged unused? If you can run your business better than your competitor, make it harder on your competitor! Lower price. Watch them struggle and then take their market share – for free. The approach also fends off future competition. Anyone want to take on Amazon Prime in home delivery, Apple in music, or Google in search? No. That provides the moat that makes Digital Enterprises so valuable. It explains why Warren Buffett considers Google more or less a modern monopoly. If Google, Amazon, and Apple are Goliath, do not bet on David this time.
Professor Walker provides keynote talks, seminars presentations, executive training programs, and executive briefings.
Recent talk topics enjoyed by clients have included:
“From Big Data to Big Profits: Getting the Most from Your Data and Analytics”
“Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Automation at Work”
“Digital Strategy: From Data to Dominance”
“Success with an Inter-Generational Workforce: From Boomers to Millennials”
“FinTech, Payments, and Economic Trends and Outlooks in Consumer Lending”
“The World in 2050: Risks and Opportunities Ahead”
Exceptional executive training programs have included:
“Digital Disruption, Automation, Analytics, Data Science, the IoT, and the Big Data Wave”
“Master Course on Operational Risk: Measurement, Management, Leadership”
“Complete Course in Risk Management: Credit, Market, Operational, and Enterprise Risk”
“Cybersecurity Training: Prevention, Preparation, and Post-Analysis”
“Strategic Data-Driven Marketing”
“Enterprise Risk Management and the CRO”
About Russell Walker, Ph.D.
Professor Russell Walker helps companies develop strategies to manage risk and harness value through analytics and Big Data. He is Clinical Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. He has worked with many enterprises and leading marketing organizations through the Analytical Consulting Lab, an experiential class that he founded and leads at Kellogg.
His most recent book, From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics is published by Oxford University Press (2015), which explores how firms can best monetize Big Data through digital strategies. He is the author of the text Winning with Risk Management (World Scientific Publishing, 2013), which examines the principles and practice of risk management through business case studies.
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