Digital disruption is causing a paradigm shift in the way things are done in business today, and even in society in general. New developments in technology have created new avenues for business to remain relevant, capture new market share, and expand its footprint.
New technology has also allowed many smaller businesses that would have otherwise been eaten up by the competition before to become presences in themselves and much more present in the market. As such, customer demands and business trends and needs are constantly changing — at a pace that is likely to continue in the near future at the very least.
Many view digital disruption with some degree of skepticism, others with dislike or cynicism. Despite the seemingly negative connotation of the term, digital disruption is in fact a positive force for any business that seeks to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. It simply requires an open mind, and a surrendering of the old ways of doing things. Like we mentioned at the beginning, digital disruption is all about changing the paradigm. And especially for businesses who want to have an extra “oomph”, taking advantage of digital disruption is one of the sure-fire ways to see continued relevance and success going forward.
What is digital disruption, anyway?
Gartner defines digital disruption as “an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviors in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets.” Search CIO calls digital disruption as “the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.”
The key factor that defines digital disruption is change. It’s all about redefining things and changing things so the status quo is dislodged. Digital disruption paves the way for evolution and growth, and companies that utilize this are poised to reap the benefits of the new opportunities digital disruption provides.
Particularly with agile organizations, digital disruption makes things happen. Both the internal and external workings of an organization can become more complex as the company grows and the needs and requirements that keep the whole organization moving change as well. The digitization of the business process — which is part of digital disruption — is essential in making the organization more efficient, cost-effective, productive, and more customer-friendly.
In the same vein, digital disruption also involves the use of business intelligence and big data. Digital disruption allows executives, leaders, and other decision-makers to be able to make informed decisions that are based on solid data and reliable information. Since business decisions have far-reaching implications, digital disruption paves the way for better and improved decision-making which in turn helps the organization grow, evolve and remain relevant.
Digital disruption also drives innovation in a company, and allows companies to exceed outdated standards and reach new heights in terms of service and product quality, productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Digital disruption enables companies to meet the new needs and wants of customers, whose tastes and demands change all the time.
Digital disruption-driven innovation is responsible for breakthroughs in management that pave the way for a company or brand’s further success and gives businesses an edge — which is essential in a highly competitive market where customers are becoming more and more informed and discerning. Old methods just don’t cut it anymore, and digital disruption can spell the difference between moving forward or being left behind.
Digital change is coming, and it is inevitable
Despite the many advantages that digital disruption gives, many still stubbornly cling to the old ways of doing things. But change is inevitable. A Forbes study reported that a third of executives say that competition from companies that take advantage of digital and data technologies have a profound effect on the market. 51% of surveyed executives said that digital disruption employed by technology-driven startups as well as digital innovations by incumbent companies posed a high level of risk in terms of market share and revenue.
– Sowing what they reap (in a good way): Disruptors are reaping the rewards of their strategy. A large majority of companies that considered themselves “customer-data-driven leaders” told Forbes that they saw an uptick in revenue over the last three fiscal years. As such, many companies and executives are looking to transition their respective business models to services and/or products that rely heavily and are driven by technology.
Others have chosen to take a slightly different tack, and have partnered with other players who bring a lot to the table in terms of digital disruption. The Forbes study also indicated that more than half of executives saw digital disruption to be behind the capture of new markets and customers, and allowed them to gain and utilize new knowledge and information about their customer bases.
– Opportunities still abound: The potential afforded by digital disruption is vast with many companies still lacking the capability to access big data and other elements of the digital transformation movement. But these tools are very accessible, and it remains in the hands of decision-makers whether or not they choose to take advantage of the benefits of digital disruption.
A good example to show the inevitability of digital disruption is to take a look at what happened to Kodak. A pioneer of the mainstream photography market, Kodak saw undisputed dominance for several years but due to its inability to discern and meet the needs of a changing market, it eventually lost its relevance.
Kodak failed to see a growing market that it never targeted before and stuck to its tried and tested formula. The thing was, that tried and tested formula was out of date. This inability to change allowed brands like Canon, Nikon and Sony to swoop in and take advantage of the new crop of customers who saw photography and were willing to invest in digital photography. Kodak declared bankruptcy in 2012.
It’s important for business to plan for digital disruption. Instead of turning a blind eye or ignoring it, it’s better to embrace it. Keeping an eye on digital trends means being ahead of the pack and having an edge over the competition. And in a highly competitive environment, having an edge is a huge deal. Embracing digital disruption means instead of seeing other adopters wash away your hard work, you also reap the benefits and see your hard work enhanced and your investments pay off with the new opportunities and growth for your business.
Three key points on why digital disruption matters
All things considered, digital disruption is a good thing for businesses and customers alike. The move towards a more digital technologically-enabled operation and workflow is inevitable, and those who have embraced it have been seeing marked improvement in their operations across the board.
1. Disruption is good for growth
No one ever really reached anything by remaining in their comfort zone. Throughout history, human evolution was spurred by radical change. The same applies to business. With more and more people (thus, customers) becoming more digitally-enabled, and with digital technology steadily growing its influence and integration in our daily lives, business and service providers should keep up. With digital disruption comes growth.
Take the example of Lemonade, an insurer that relies on A.I. to calculate insurance premiums. With a few questions, Lemonade’s technology is able to accurately calculate the right insurance premium to charge. With the middleman cut out, and with the other efficiencies afforded by A.I. technology factored into the whole process, Lemonade is able to also significantly lower the premiums it offers. The A.I. technology also simplifies what used to be a very complicated process, which is another strong selling point with many of Lemonade’s customers.
2. Creates happier, more satisfied customers
Customers today are a totally different crop compared to those of years past. More informed, more discerning, they know what they want. Many customers have little brand loyalty, and seek the company that caters to his or her wants. Brands that manage to predict trends and customer behavior, as well as deliver outstanding customer experience pre and post sale are the ones who are seeing massive success.
The better understanding of customers is made possible by advanced analytics and big data, which provides previously inaccessible insights into customer behavior and other trends. This is why companies like Amazon, despite having no physical store (not counting Whole Foods) has seen explosive success throughout the years.
Amazon consistently utilizes big data and modern technology that it has become more or less the template for what an online shopping experience should be. Other brands and companies have followed suit, but none have been able to reach the heights that Amazon has achieved.
3. Helps the workplace evolve and improve
One of the keys to a successful business operation is to be able to have a workforce and workplace that is harmonious and functions like a well-oiled machine. Utilizing the latest workflow management tools, for example, empower teams and leaders to better utilizing time and resources, making things more efficient. Tools like the ones provided by Runrun.it are a good example of this.
Take its Smart Time Tracking tool, which makes timekeeping a breeze, but also allows data generation that shows things like how much time a particular task took before it was completed, or how teams are utilizing their time. Leaders can then step in to improve on any perceived weak points or give credit for jobs well done. And efficient time management means less overtime, and a healthier work-life balance — something every employee appreciates.
The same thing goes for Runrun.it’s Dashboard tool, which gives access to even more data sets that leadership and teams can utilize for even further efficiency and cost-effectiveness in other aspects of the operation. The great thing about Runrun.it’s tools is that they are customizable based on an organization’s needs, requirements and even culture. To see how these tools can work for your particular organization, check out the free trial here.