Digital Disruption


A Greek philosopher once said, “the only thing constant is change.” And nothing can bring that statement more to life than what is happening today. Technology as we know it today has created a state of perpetual revolution. The constant evolution that alters innovations and new ideas as old and common case scenarios has never been greater, and we have the internet to thank for that. The internet, or the guiding tool that connects people to vast amounts of information and to one another in turn, makes the twenty-first century all about surprises.

A term that is commonly used to describe this phenomenon is “digital disruption”. It is explained as an innovative idea that displaces established technology and shakes up the industry, or it can also be a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Disruptions now occur at increasingly fast intervals which drives competition by accelerating competing ideas. Every industry faces disruption, some businesses and organizations will emerge stronger while others may dwindle in the face of an ever-changing market. There is no use ignoring it, digital disruption isn’t slowing down and the internet-age is growing exponentially.

An example of a company that has seen catastrophic results due to digital disruption is Eastman Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012. The company suffered greatly from the rise of new emerging technologies such as digital cameras, photo sharing websites and home printing, making Kodak obsolete in the eyes of the consumer.

In hindsight, there were a lot of factors at play that attributed to the demise of Kodak, one can even attribute their early continued success to their demise. It’s not uncommon for a company that has seen success for a multitude of years to relax and forget the fortitude and determination that resulted in this success. Research and development in new ideas and products may have dwindled giving competing businesses who continued to increase their research and development and entrepreneurial culture an advantage over Kodak. On the other hand, a company that has seen great success thanks to digital disruption is Apple. Before the iPhone, Apple was already seeing success, but the creation and development of the first iPhone created an entire category that was not previously on the market and catapulted it beyond a technology device and made consumers brand loyalists, who pay premium rates for the Apple brand. So what can one do, and what do we expect to see, as the ever-changing tides of technology take us on a journey that is sure to impress and nearly impossible to stop?

It is important to always keep up-to-date with the changing times and know that technology fluctuates and is in an ever-moving state of development. Currently, several disruptive technologies are forming to what venture capitalist Fred Wilson calls a “Golden Triangle of Disruption.” It’s defined by 1 - real time, 2 - social media and 3 - mobile technology trends. The result is a completely altered form of how people connect, communicate, and discover new information. The effect then influences the decision-making process which ultimately affects the entire customer journey and customer lifecycle.

Businesses are facing the challenge of connecting the ways behavior influence customer journeys and redefining them in order to create experiences that are streamlined and seamless in context of engagement. This very challenge creates the need for digital transformation that uses technology to connect and interact with consumers and introduces new systems to successfully compete in today’s day and age.

While it may be nearly impossible to predict which ideas and technology will revolutionize the future, it is imperative that we continue to to learn how our clients interact with their social and digital surroundings. Finally, it is always important to remember that change is constant, it is not an end goal, and it’s a continuous journey.