Digital disruption, it’s been talked about for awhile. During these lockdowns, quarantines, and states of emergency it’s never been clearer that it’s coming, it’s here!
Continuous technological developments have created new ways for businesses to stay competitive, remain relevant, capture new market share, and even expand. While new opportunities are ripe – some business models that were once a safe-bet are now struggling to adapt and keep up with the pace of innovation. Since the dawn of time to today, technological advances are met with degrees of enthusiasm, skepticism, or even dislike. People have always been, and will continue to be, resistant to change. But that’s not why we’re here. Let’s talk about digital disruption and how it accelerated with our lockdowns.
So, What Is Digital Disruption?!
There are varying definitions of what digital disruption actually is. But, the key factor that remains throughout is that it brings change. It’s essentially a transformation caused by emerging digital innovations, technologies, and business models. The term ‘disruption’ is used is because these digital upgrades tend to shake up the market , or cause a disturbance (in the force), in the way of doing things. Despite the use of the normally negatively connoted term, “disruption” in this case is actually a positive thing.
Part of the disruption is the digitization of the business process. In the digital age, this is more important than ever. It is essential in order to make organizations more efficient, cost-effective, consumer-friendly, while simultaneously increasing productivity and profitability. Another aspect of digital disruption involves the use of data and business intelligence to help companies make more informed decisions.
The old methods just aren’t enough anymore, particularly while we’re dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the world being on lockdown, offline businesses are having to find ways to deliver their products and services through online channels. Embracing digital disruption paves the way for the success of a brand or business. And, gives them an edge that is critical in an extremely competitive global market where consumers are more informed and discerning than ever before. The age of information technology is a double edged sword. While businesses gain tools integral to furthering their causes, consumers are also empowered by the information available to them at the click of a mouse or touch of a screen. But, I doubt I need to sell this to anyone nowadays. So, let’s get to some examples of disruption.
Kodak is probably the most well known example for those of us who had an analog childhood and digital adulthood. From pioneers of some of the first cameras on the mainstream market and holding a monopoly for most of the 20th century, to eventually and inevitably declaring bankruptcy. It’s a good case study to recognize how resisting change or failing to keep up with the changing identities of your customers as well as their changing needs and expectations could impact your business.
Online shopping! Who doesn’t love it?! While we’re in lockdown, Amazon has been one of the main ways for us to get our shopping fix. They started as an online bookstore and contributed to the decline of Barnes & Noble, formerly one of the largest chains of bookstores. They’re mostly known for their e-commerce, but have successfully delved into cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. They’re even considered one of the Big Four tech companies together with Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Now that’s successful digital disruption.
The service that is probably the most responsible for keeping us sane during lockdown, Netflix started as a DVD rental company. How could anyone successfully challenge the video rental giant Blockbuster at the time? They did it by being a DVD rental by mail service where users would browse and order the films they wanted on their website and Netflix would post them right to the front door. Eventually they evolved into the streaming service they are today. What’s funny is that they even offered up the possibility of partnering with Blockbuster but were laughed out the door. The fact that today’s generation probably has no idea what Blockbuster is tells you all you need to know.
Rideshare Apps: Depending on the country you’re in you are probably familiar with rideshare apps like Uber or Grab. Uber saw an opportunity for apps which allowed customers to easily call rides and pay affordable or agreed upon prices. The rumor is that the founders got the concept on a cold winter night when they were unable to get a cab. Now we have rideshare apps that offer not just convenience but safety and reliability as well.
The Time is Now
Imagine having to go through this lockdown 30 years ago, without Amazon, Shopee, Lazada, Grab, Zoom, and so many of the applications and platforms that have simplified and enriched our lives. Digital disruption is not just another trend that comes and goes. It’s here to stay and is especially important in times like these.
The majority of countries are in lockdown and many of their people are working from home. It doesn’t have to be scary, it can be a time of exciting possibilities, a light at the end of a tunnel. It’s time to start planning ahead and to put strategies in place to embrace the disruption with digital transformation. We don’t know what will happen in the next 10 years. By its own definition, disruption is unpredictable. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how you can embrace the change and start digitizing your business – please feel free to reach out and talk with an Enabler.