June 8, 2011
These are exciting—and challenging—times for anyone who is responsible for developing, managing, and innovating consumer products. Why? Because digital technology is disrupting everything—the way we communicate with each other; the way we access, store, and share information; the way we purchase and interact with the products and services we use every day; and yes—even the way in which we actually pay for those products and services. Whether you like it or not, digital disruption is happening everywhere, it’s happening fast, and it’s accelerating.
Let's consider that last example: If you’re in the consumer payments business (or just about any other business for that matter), then it would have been hard to miss the recent flurry of activity around digital payments—whether it’s Square, Visa’s digital wallet, Google, MasterCard’s contactless chip solutions, or any of the various mobile payment solutions we’ve seen lately. Some are proclaiming the end is near for cash, and yes, we’ve all heard this “cashless society” cadence before. NBC News’ scooped this and other sci-fi claims back in 2007 on a story about how we would all have embedded microchips in our skin by 2017. Go back nearly ten more years—remember when PayPal launched? That was pre-Y2K!
Yes, we have indeed heard it before, but something’s different now. While the technology has existed for years, today it’s actually getting into the hands of consumers—at scale. That means new revenue potential abounds for the firms that can wrap a profitable business model around their digital payment products. It also opens the door for aggressive new entrants and new strategic partnerships that are willing and able to disrupt the status quo.
So where is all of this headed? Who will win, and what will it take? Are we really going to end up in a cashless society? If you think you have the answers to these questions, the right background, the consultative “chops,” and the intellectual curiosity to do rigorous research—you just might have what it takes to become Forrester’s next analyst. We are searching for a Senior Analyst to join the Consumer Product Strategy practice at Forrester and help define the future of consumer payments.
I look forward to hearing from you.