One or more of these technologies might already be interfering with your business process flow, giving you a tough time. Digital Disruption is an innovation that create obstacles in continuing your business the old way. You have to check for possible digital disruptions and be ready for them before they eat into your profits. The article lists top 5 digital disruptions & technologies that have already started to affect businesses. While you are at it, do check out the link towards the end of article for assessment of your business’ readiness for digital disruptions.
Anything off-premises and always accessible from anywhere in the world is the simplest definition of cloud. The early adaptions of cloud computing are email and messaging. In case of email, it is not just a disruption but a disruptive technology that changed the way people interact. Emails removed snail mail (handwritten letters) from the scene of business communication. That is a different story so I won’t delve into it in this article.
Going by the above definition, cloud computing is anything off-premises. Generally, there are cloud service providers who provide all type of services – backup, storage, software development, business communications – including websites and customized email IDs, data processing, and more. All this has affected the businesses who serviced their clients on site. The cloud is much mature, bigger and cheaper than these individual entities providing on site services. While most of businesses providing on site storage, backup etc. have gone out of businesses, others have evolved into clouds themselves so that they can keep up with the cloud computing disruption.
Same way, programmers and game developers need not arrange all equipment related to software development, testing, and distribution. The cloud, like Azure, provides the perfect platform for software development, testing, and distribution. Service providers in this area – who were providing assisting technologies for software development and distribution – had to change their approach to survive in the business sector.
Another example is Google Apps digital disruption to hosting service providers. With Google offering cloud solutions for business communication, hosting service providers are suffering as a majority of businesses moved to these cloud-based offerings for their ease of accessibility and use. Google Apps for business not only offer hosting but makes it easy for non-IT admins to maintain email IDs, communications and collaborations etc. at cheaper price.
There are endless possibilities with cloud computing with some or the other startup providing something new frequently, the shape of IT industry has already changed and will keep on changing. You will have to check out what are the possibilities, how they can affect you and accordingly, prepare to counter the disruption. You can also make use of cloud services and become a disruptor instead.
This is related to smartphones and mobile computing devices that made BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) possible. Employees prefer companies that allow a single device for both office and personal use – as long as data is not in danger.
Not only BYOD but mobile computing has also changed the way people work. With mobile computing as disruptor, employees can work from anywhere – without having to drive to the office every day. Many companies provide the facility of telecommuting, thereby saving the time otherwise spent in wading through the traffic to reach office.
With the power these mobile computing devices have or will have by 2025, it is expected that most of the business processes will soon turn into mobile apps that can be used anywhere. Already many businesses have gone mobile only. For example, Snapdeal was an ecommerce website doing well. But when its competitors started going mobile only, it too had to change its method of functioning.
The focus is on businesses providing mobile access to their customers so that they generate more profits. There is no more need to visit a brick and mortar store or to boot up a computer. You can simply use your smartphone app to buy things and services.
We cannot leave out Internet access when talking about mobile computing. It is necessary for mobile computing – for connecting to some business or to connect to your office via VPN remotely. By 2025, it is expected that more than 3 billion people will have access to mobile computing. That may largely change the way businesses are conducted these days. The Snapdeal example could just be a beginning. If you have a brick and mortar store somewhere, you will also need an ecommerce website and/or a mobile app that people will prefer over visiting your store physically.
Machine Learning and Automation
With computers becoming smarter, very soon we might see a huge drop in manual operators. It is assumed that Machine Learning may replace some 140 million full time workers by 2025 when it comes to critical decision making processes. If your business is related to consultancy, for example, you may have to adapt to machine learning packages so that you are not out of the race in the coming few years. There are many other possibilities that I am not able to think of, at the moment. Check out how Machine Learning and AI can affect your business by assessing what all it does and how it can be a disruption to your business. Then formulate a plan to counter or adapt it into your business.
Big Data is another thing that can prove to be a disruption to businesses in field of not only Analytics and Consultation but also many others. With the amount of data being stored on and off premises, the methods of collecting and sorting data, the methods of processing data to achieve results quickly, the process of decision making will change significantly.
Combined with cloud computing and machine learning, Big Data can be a huge blow to many sectors including but not limited to small scale storage providers, business consultancies and analytic.
Internet of Things (IoT as disruption)
Internet Of Things needs no introduction. While some countries are yet to adopt this technology that allows you to control devices remotely, many countries and societies are already learning to harness the power of IoT.
The simple thing it provides is remote monitoring and control of device. In the process, it provides gazillions of data that can be stored to study general practices of users and to provide better, interactive devices. A smart light bulb is any day better than a regular light bulb. The smart light bulb can not only operate on its own or by remote apps, it can also collect data that you can use to figure out and reduce your electricity usage. It is just one example. Imagine IoT technology coming to the kind of things your business is engaged in. Would it not be proper for you to start working on smart devices instead of waiting until some other company gives you a jolt?
The above are top 5 technologies that I see as digital disruptions to any business – irrespective of the markets they engage. There may be several more – like new energy storage devices that store energy for later use, 3D printing and design of material with superior characteristics are some of the other disruptive technologies. Think of these disruptions and how they can affect your business in future. Plan accordingly so that you are not left behind when the time comes.
Check the readiness of your business for digital disruption using this Microsoft Disruption Calculator.