Does this sound like something that’s keeping you up all night?

‘Googleitis’ : the irrational fear that Google is going to enter your market and do everything better cheaper and more effectively putting you and all your colleagues out of work.

Fear not, this is something that we’ve been following and thought it helpful to share our thoughts …

Affinia has observed that in financial services there is this growing fear of “an external organisation” coming along and magically sorting all of the problems we can’t solve and from nowhere dominating the market. People often talk about Google but it might also be Apple, Microsoft, Virgin or someone we have not even heard of yet.

Our director, Tim Waterlow, was at a industry conference where he took on board a real sense the fear as people wallowed in the insurmountability (another new word?) of their own difficulties. He came away feeling disheartened by the ease at which a new company with a better systems, technical ability, money, drive, brand, customer relationships would wash them away!

At Affinia Partnerships we have termed this as ‘Googleitis’.

So, rather than wallowing in fear, maybe it’s better to ask yourself a much more constructive question:

“If I was Google and I had a fresh sheet of paper what would I do?” Then go and do it.”

An example of this within the financial services sector is the latest annuity legislation that has sent several organisations into a tailspin.

The reality is that none of the consumer challenges being faced by long-term healthcare, poor retirement planning, and general consumer lethargy have changed following Government announcements.

We need to stop hiding behind legislation and get back to doing what is right for the customer. Annuities were a comfortable legislated excuse for us not to solve these issues. They have not given good value for years and as an industry we did little about it. Why have we not tackled the real issue, which is that people don’t save enough for their retirement?

The winners in this market will be those who face up to the challenges of the market and not those that look for excuses of why things are not possible.

Tim comments: “I’m not saying this is easy. If it was the need for you and us would reduce and Google could take the market. The fact that it is difficult is what gives your organisation the opportunity.

At Affinia we deal with a lot of businesses across a lot of sectors and each one has the same issue – How do you rebuild the business whilst maintaining business momentum from the existing platform?

This is always a difficult challenge but it is the same for all businesses in all sectors and is a key function of business where change is a core process.

What I am convinced about is that the answer is very rarely the “big” project. We see so many organisations spending millions reinventing themselves when the answer is normally incremental change. For a start any long term project has the danger of being out of date by the time you launch.

The new world is about simplicity. Make everything as simple as you can. Every process within your business if simplified within current restraints would make a significant difference. If you are a CEO of a business walk the floor and find processes that should be changed. Every individual in your business should be tasked with making things simple for the customer and never let compliance be an excuse.

Partnerships can help with this bring in partners that have a culture that matches your ambitions and learn from them. Be wary of big project mentality and don’t be scared of monsters that may or not exist.”

It’s our view that Google have got better things to do than enter our market and if they do want to join the fray then good luck to them. We should be confident in our skill and expertise and not be afraid of novice new entrants.