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Learning from the master disruptor

Quocirca’s latest executive briefing analyses the impact that Amazon is having on a range of markets – cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, e-commerce and print-on-demand. Here, Director Louella Fernandes, explores what she dubs ‘The Amazon Effect’

Few companies have had as disruptive an impact across so many industries as Amazon. From its beginnings as an online bookstore, taking on publishers and booksellers around the world, the company has reinvented everything from e-commerce to cloud computing, media and entertainment, and smart home consumer products.

Amazon continues to disrupt industry after industry. Its global scale, relentless obsession with customer centricity and innovation, has led it to become one of the big four technology companies. The company posted $386 billion in sales for 2020 and in February this year announced record quarterly revenues of more than $100 billion.

The shifting IT landscape has placed greater revenue and profitability pressure on print industry players than ever before. Printer manufacturers and their partners are challenged with the need to evolve beyond traditional products and provide distinctive service offerings into the rapidly growing technology services market. There are several areas that are disrupting the technology landscape – cloud, IoT and edge computing, the smart connected home and office, and e-commerce – each of which have implications for the print industry. Amazon plays in all of these spaces.

Print manufacturers and their partners need to step up their game to remain relevant in the Amazon era. This means learning from Amazon’s focus on customer centricity and developing disruptive business models in the subscription and marketplace economy. Print manufacturers should seek closer strategic relationships with Amazon to capitalise on its breadth and scale across cloud, IoT and the B2B marketplace.

A technology company
At its core, Amazon is a technology company – its biggest source of operating profit is its cloud computing business – Amazon Web Services (AWS). Launched in 2006, AWS ushered in the cloud era. As well as powering the building blocks of the internet through its hosting of websites, applications and services, Amazon is also at the forefront of new initiatives, such as AI and machine learning, IoT, augmented reality and quantum computing.

AWS is said to provide a platform for more than a million companies around the world – its biggest customers include Netflix and Apple. Today the AWS marketplace includes more than 8,000 AWS-compatible software listings sold by 2,000-plus ISVs, VARs and SIs.

Differentiating to thrive in the Amazon era means print industry players should look to capitalise on a range of opportunities. This includes partnering with Amazon in technology sectors (cloud, IoT, smart connected home and office), replicating the Amazon experience by harnessing the power of customer analytics and excelling in areas that deliver value such as professional services through online B2B marketplaces.

The Amazon Effect
Quocirca’s The Amazon Effect Executive Briefing examines the disruptive effect that Amazon has had on a range of industries – cloud, IoT, edge computing, smart home and office, and print-on-demand. The report looks at some of these areas in-depth and provides some recommendations for the print industry in relation to:

*AWS Cloud and Professional Services.  Leveraging AWS Cloud and IoT as a platform for interoperability in the wider smart connected IoT space.
*Alexa print my shopping list.  Will voice assistant integration help boost printing and scanning in the smart connected home?
*Amazon Business.  Set to break $53 billion revenue by 2023, is Amazon Business a threat or opportunity for the traditional channel?
*Vertical B2B online marketplaces.  Embracing the marketplace model to create a vertical marketplace that goes beyond a transactional platform to encompass a services and solutions ecosystem.
*Cloud print services.  Strategies and opportunities to address remote worker printing needs.
*Analytics.  Opportunities for harnessing the power of predictive customer analytics.

The phenomenal growth of Amazon shows no signs of slowing down and ultimately every print manufacturer and channel partner should have a clear vision on what role Amazon plays in the future of their business.

With AWS CEO Andy Jassy now at the helm, Amazon is showing it is serious about the enterprise market. Amazon is undoubtedly set to reinforce its position as a leading technology innovator and drive further market disruption.