The Digital Revolution Will Reach Everyone

New Indra Chair of Digital Strategy

28/01/2015 Madrid

Josep Valor
Josep Valor, holder of the Indra Chair of Digital Strategy: “A tsunami that will reach all economic sectors, including those least linked to the technological environment.” / Photo: Javier Arias

A company started fewer than five years ago in San Francisco has put taxi drivers in half the world on the defensive. We’re talking about Uber, a company that connects passengers with the drivers of private vehicles through a mobile application.

The rise of Uber has led to conflict in the industry because it is seen as unfair competition. It has even been banned in some countries such as Spain, although the company says its application is legal and intends to go on offering its services.

This is an example of how new digital business models are shaking up traditional sectors of the economy. It was one of the cases discussed during the presentation of the Indra Chair of Digital Strategy in Madrid yesterday. The Chair has been established to help information technology expand from being a single, functional department in companies into an element that crosses the entire organizational structure.

Josep Valor, IESE professor of information systems and holder of the new Chair, was in no doubt that the digital revolution is “a tsunami that will reach all economic sectors, including those least linked to the technological environment.”

He believes that the increase in digital density around the world produced by “the rise of interactions, connections and information in the digital era” is capable of producing “new business models at almost zero cost”. This is a revolution that is radically changing the rules of the game for business.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the story of the once emblematic Kodak, which was unable to adapt to the new digital paradigm. As a result, the company went bankrupt and its 135,000 employees lost their jobs.

New Strategies for New Realities

All aspects of society – including everyday actions such as visiting the doctor, shopping in the supermarket or delivering parcels – are succumbing to an inevitable digital transformation. That is why IESE dean Jordi Canals insisted on the need to develop new digital strategies “in order to guarantee that companies and future generations can advance.”

“The change is only just beginning because the process of digitization is going to double in the next few years,” said Indra CEO Javier de Andrés. He believes that countries that can develop technology create more value, wealth and employment than those that merely adopt it.

Andrés said he was convinced that one of the influencing factors that will grow fastest in future digital society is cyber security, with the development of “highly innovative processes that will allow us to cope with the challenges that come with the widespread adoption of new technologies.”

Knowledge as a Basis of Action

To begin with, the Indra Chair of Digital Strategy will focus its research on sectoral changes centered around two areas:

  • how intelligent infrastructures will affect the business models of companies that provide services for them, and how this will affect the development of their activities
  • the use of social networks as a source of big data so that companies can adapt their business model to 21st-century clients.

Later on, research will extend to encompass the following topics:

  • digital transformation
  • mobility and 24/7 connectivity
  • the transformation of the digital sector with the aim of creating a model for sectoral change
  • relationships with clients and digital marketing