Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Waitrose unveils plans to increase its online offering, WhatsApp alerts users of a security breach and startup Lilium uncovers flying taxi service.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. Waitrose unveils plans to increase its online offering

Following the end of its partnership with Ocado, Waitrose has announced plans to treble the size of its online business to £1bn annually. The three-year transformation, which will be led by Today Development Partners, will see Waitrose develop technology for three new automated distribution centres.

Waitrose clearly understands the importance of transforming fast and always having a line into the customer experience. As customer preferences continue to change, the supermarket chains need to constantly evolve. It’s a tough but interesting time to be part of an organisation such as Waitrose.

2. WhatsApp urges users to update the messaging service following a security breach

It’s another blow for Mark Zuckerburg as WhatsApp announced that spyware, discovered through a flaw in the app, could have infiltrated the phones of some of its 1.5 billion users. In response, Whatsapp released an upgrade for its messaging service, which removed the spyware and urged its users to update the app.

In a world where technology is at the core of everything we do both in work and our personal lives, it is important for businesses to put security at the top of their agenda. By never taking the finger off the button and continuously improving, with the right people, it will allow businesses to stay at the forefront of cyber-security.

3. The Royal Opera House set to launch “family-friendly” operas

Disruption is here and no industry is safe. Century-old organisations need to be diversifying their audiences and transforming their offering if they want to survive the next decade. With this in mind, it was positive to see that The Royal Opera House will be launching a series of operas targeted at families. Currently, the average age of an opera-goer is 48, so the theatre company is hoping that productions of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and The Lost Thing, will bring a new life and audience to the historic performing arts.

The announcement follows a multi-million-pound refurb in 2018, which included a redesign of the Linbury Theatre, the introduction of a large digital screen at the entrance that broadcasts footage of rehearsals and performances, shop, cafe and restaurant. It is apparent that The Royal Opera House is keeping transformation at the forefront of its mind to keep up with the pace of its consumers and to attract new customers.

4. Technology companies pledge to increase women on their management boards

Alibaba, Booking.com, IBM and Uber are among the 45 global technology companies who have pledged to boost the number of women on their management boards. The companies signed the pledge at a ‘Tech for good’ summit in Paris in the hope to improve the representation of women at higher levels in tech. This follows recent figures which revealed that on average the FTSE 100 technology companies are behind in terms of gender diversity in exec teams.

As businesses pivot into the new world, they need to put agility at their core. The root of this problem lies in the outdated structure of the executive team, which no longer keeps up with the fast-paced modern business world. By creating a refreshed workforce, it will bring in the best people with diverse opinions who can change at the same pace and embrace the new way of working.

5. Startup Lilium uncovers flying taxi service

TV shows and films for years have envisaged flying cars to be part of our future world. Well, Munich-based startup Lilium revealed that we are one step closer to this dream, after successfully completing its first flight in Germany. The all-electric jet has 36 engines that allow it to take off vertically, with a maximum speed of 180mph. The big reveal is part of Lilium’s plan to create an app-based flying taxi service, that it is expected to be operational by 2025. It is always great to see an innovation specific story, especially one that will disrupt and change our future for the good.

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