Whitecap works with clients across a wide range of sectors, with technology being a central and critical theme of the growth plans we help them develop and implement. Stefan Haase, Director and Technology; Innovation Practice Area Lead, takes a look at the impact of technology on the world’s biggest companies.

Over the last 3 years Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have not only become the four most valuable companies in market capitalisation rankings, but they continue to grow. All four business are referred to as technology companies. While Apple, Google and Microsoft can clearly be called tech companies isn’t Amazon a retail business? And looking further afield, isn’t BP an oil and gas exploration company and doesn’t BSkyB operate in the media sector? At face value, you might argue that some of these businesses aren’t technology companies but let’s dig a little deeper and highlight some of their strategic ambitions.

• Amazon’s entire business is based on technology, from one of the globe’s most sophisticated e-commerce platforms to the biggest global cloud computing platform that powers the majority of mobile apps and has reached a $25bn annual turnover.

• BP is focusing on technologies that enhance safety, improve exploration and production and boost conversion processes. Its technology programmes are aiming to refine and convert oil and gas into energy efficient products or to improve advanced materials research. BP Ventures identifies and invests in private, high growth, disruptive technology companies, accelerating cutting edge innovations that are applicable to the energy sector.

• BSkyB lists its three key business strengths as offering great content, market leading innovation and customer focus. Or in other words: apps, technology and UX. Technology is what makes BskyB tick.

• Goldman Sachs’ CEO says his company is a technology firm. Dominos call themselves a tech company. The list goes on.

So, what about your business? Are you a tech business?

Technology drives growth and innovation: Financial services invest in FinTech and InsurTech, the public sector drives GovTech and Smart Cities, healthcare focuses on HealthTech. Many businesses have digital transformation teams and programmes. An increasing number of sectors and businesses are focusing on the user experience (UX) and omnichannel delivery & strategies, i.e. offering the same user experience whatever platform the end user engages through. Furthermore, the drive to capture the millennial generation, who demand access to everything from anywhere via mobile devices, is all about technology.

Technology’s abiding power in the marketplace is not temporary as it permeates every sector of the economy, even those not formally classified as high-tech. Whether companies like Amazon and BP should carry tech labels is beside the point. Tech has already taken over.

These days every company is a tech company, but some have better niches, faster growth, more attractive offerings or more favourable share prices than others. These kinds of fundamental distinctions will influence the top rankings of the future.

Three key lessons:

  1. Embrace technology where possible to transform your operational model
  2. Learn from other businesses and sectors who successfully use technology
  3. Review, assess and trial new technology across all parts of your operations

How to transform your business into a tech business

Whitecap helps businesses to assess their strategic objectives and resulting business objectives, a key component of which is technology. Through a range of partners, we can also facilitate the digital, technological and organisational transformation required to make your business a tech-focused business.

Established in 2012, Whitecap Consulting is a regional strategy consultancy headquartered in Leeds, with offices in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Bristol and Newcastle. We typically work with boards, executives and investors of predominantly mid-sized organisations with a turnover of c£10m-£300m, helping clients analyse, develop and implement growth strategies. Also, we work with clients across a range of sectors including Financial Services, Technology, FinTech, Outsourcing, Consumer and Retail, Property, Healthcare, Higher Education and Professional Services, including Corporate Finance and PE.