Letter to Shareholders
2017 was the year during which the digital revolution firmly asserted itself.
Widespread network access; the diffusion of mobile technology and “smart” devices; the resulting availability of huge amounts of information; the sharing economy; the digitisation of production processes, including 3D-printing; and cloud-based solutions drove the rapid and continuous redefinition of productive and distributive maps. This was all made possible by overcoming entry barriers and the emergence of new collaborative and innovative ecosystems.
This is an evolution that can no longer be stopped, leading to the inevitable crisis of those sectors that are unable to evolve and adapt, find new and different competitive approaches or open themselves up to new business or service models.
Reply worked effectively in this new environment during 2017. We quickly positioned ourselves amongst the leading players in this transformation, offering a complete portfolio of products and services aligned to the evolving needs of companies that increasingly focused on the digitisation of all services and physical goods.
Today, thanks to the investments made in previous years, Reply is one of the leaders in this evolution, both in terms of its portfolio of partnerships and because of our customer ecosystem. In recent months, few companies operating in our industry have received as much recognition from the market as Reply.
In fact, our expertise consolidated in the “core” processes of leading industrial and media sectors allows us to transform technology into relevant and innovative solutions for our customers. At the same time, we support them in the constant search for competitiveness that today’s markets demand.
We enjoy leading partner status with all of the major global technology vendors. We also have investment projects under way in research and development, with a focus on emerging technologies, including virtual reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence - areas in which we are already active with specific expertise and a dedicated portfolio of products and services.
The implications of what can be referred to as the industrial revolution of the 21st century appear, however, to be extremely profound, even and especially in our sector.
Digital innovation will, in fact, increasingly stem from the fusion between business and technology, which does not readily fit traditional models: smart cities; connected vehicles and products; digital currencies and e-health are just a few examples of these new hybrid scenarios.
Agility and speed will be our key assets in this environment, whilst the ability to be competitive will be closely linked with the capacity to experiment and innovate quickly, learning rapidly from our company’s experience, and then just as swiftly bringing new products and services to the market.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we continue to move forward. Our competitive advantage, reflected in the results recorded in 2017, combined with our financial strength, make Reply’s products and services portfolio increasingly better aligned to the demands of a new world. A world, in which innovation linked to technology shifts from an enabler to a strategic lever for corporate success.
Our commitment is and continues to be stronger than ever, ensuring that we can capitalise on this moment of strong distruption, translating it into new value for Reply’s shareholders, its employees and its customers.
Chairman of the Board