What can Tesla tell us about Digital Transformation?
I’ve worked in the tech industry for nigh on all my adult working life. I say “adult” as I discount my childhood paper round as working in tech, even though back in the mid-80s my chromoly Mongoose BMX was considered to be at the bleeding edge. Oh to be back in those days.
Having worked and loved tech for the past 25 years I fear it is now coming head to head with another of my great passions…the car and the freedom to drive. (I’m considering the “freedom” part of the equation particularly at the moment as I try to decide whether to take the 3 points or some time out on a speed awareness course.)
Tech in cars is nothing new, just watch the backlog of James Bond films which delivered a plethora of gadgets and even became a marketing tool for the likes of Aston, Ford and BMW to name a few.
However, again showing my age, there is a point when things go too far; Timothy Dalton pulling a wheelie in a truck, for example, and the Aston Martin ‘Vanish’ in Die Another Day.
So, when I think about cars and tech there is one brand that truly stands out — Tesla, of course. Elon Musk’s brainchild is a pioneer in electric cars and is now pushing ahead with driverless cars. So, could my days of enjoyment be coming to an end? And what will the roads look like when my children take the wheel, the joystick or even the back seat?
The forthcoming Tesla 3, which follows the Roadster, and the Model S and the X, will do 0 to 60 in six seconds or less, and go at least 215 miles per charge.
But perhaps it’s the autopilot feature that’s both the most thrilling and controversial. Tesla Autopilot is a technology package that uses eight cameras, 12 ultra-sonars and an embedded front radar. All of these features help it to work out its location on the road, sense cars around it and, according to Elon Musk, read the signs to see if it’s allowed to park in certain parking spaces, avoiding disabled bays, for instance.
Then there’s the dashboard touchscreen, instead of the usual buttons to control air condition et cetera. We’re talking a decent-sized display here: 17 inches for the model S and X; 15 for the 3, so you can watch a movie.
I referred to car brands using James Bond as a marketing tool. Tesla is also very interesting in this regard and, as far as I can see, can do without marketing in the traditional sense. That’s not to say that spending on marketing isn’t important, it’s just that they have hit on a really refreshing approach.
It’s probably worth saying that Elon Musk himself does loads of interviews, and enjoys his Iron Man persona, even doing movie cameos. The company also relies on fans of the car being loyal advocates for them, promoting the car and its technology by buzzing about it on social media.
And for Tesla, it seems the marketing strategy is all about power versus efficiency — rather than throwing money and staff at promoting their brand, they’ve chosen a highly efficient route. Keep creating something that gets people talking, whether they’re car enthusiasts like me or simply admire the vision, and let those people do the marketing for you. No need for big PR and advertising campaigns to announce a new model, writers on motoring, technology and business publications can’t wait to find out what’s next, while “people journalists” spread the word on social media channels.
It’s a great metaphor for business teams. You can throw all the power in the world at a project: staff, smart people, big ideas, big salaries, but if you’re not working efficiently, it can go to waste. Collaborating well, sharing information, being productive and efficient with your resources: that’s the way to win. It means having the right technology, the right processes, and the right apps to collaborate and communicate. It means, in a phrase, digital transformation.
Teslar’s vision gives us a sneak peek at the future. But truly embracing digital transformation means looking at the technologies that are available to impact your business today. It could mean better equipping your mobile workforce; or helping your marketing team to get the perfect asset to your sales reps at the right time, through the most appropriate channel, and right where they need it to be — on their smartphone or tablet.
Your operation may not run on autopilot, but having the right communication and collaboration technology in place can certainly help you raise your efficiency. Find out more about how you can leverage the power of collaboration in your organisation today.
As for me, this will be one tech revolution I will keep an eye on while fighting my internal battle of safety, efficiency, environment vs the sound of a normally aspirated V8.
Stuart Gammon Vice President Sales Europe at Box