The wave of digital disruption is already changing the world. And whether companies love it or not, it is inevitable just like the changing buying patterns of the customers and their expectations from businesses. Fundamentally, it is changing all our lives, and the way companies across the globe do business. We all are moving towards a world where healthcare is cheaper and more effective, diseases are treated with personalized medicines based on your DNA, improving the quality of life. On the other hand, research is finding solutions so that there is no delay during air travel due to mechanical issues, and smart buildings have ambient intelligence so that people can adjust them according to their preferences. Similarly, automobile accidents will be non-existential in the future, and a car would turn into a room or an office on the wheels.
These are only a few examples of what disruption would mean in the future. But the underlying question remains, is it the technology that is driving this disruption? What about the expectations of the customer?
A study by the Harvard Business Review suggests that digital disruption is being driven by unhappy customers rather than technology. Customers today are expecting a lot more from businesses than they were a decade ago. Ideas like omnichannel, same-day delivery and 24 * 7 customer support are no longer dreams since customers expect them from every business. In other words, we are moving into a time where rapid innovation and speed to the market are more vital than ever. The firms who can cater to the demands of the customer thrive, while those who don’t find it difficult to sail in the wave of disruption.
In times like this, to consider an original idea as big enough isn’t adequate. We aren’t living in the era of the 1990s where a new and distinguished product design could earn a company market dominance. Today, a micro revolution starts every 12- 18 months, which is why organizations must be in a constant state of transformations.
Having said this, companies need to get out of their comfort zone and collaborate with other businesses as well as machines. To understand why this kind of approach works, take the e-commerce titan Amazon for an example. Amazon harnesses the best of technology to provide a higher level of satisfaction to its customers. Be it the product recommendation engine, that suggests new products to the customer based on their past purchases, or 24 * 7 customer support that is well backed by chats and calls.
Amazon is the quintessential example of why companies need to combine their ideas with technology. And once they do, it results in digital leadership.
Companies thus, need to transform the very engine of their business and power it with technology. It might seem like too much to do with the ongoing pressure from the market and customers, but it is the only way to survive it the future. However, fewer than half of businesses right now have a digital strategy in place.
A Harvard Business Review Report sponsored by Microsoft suggests that 80 percent of the businesses believe that digital disruptions are coming to their industry. On the other hand, around 50 percent of the companies found that their business model would become obsolete by 2020.
Most businesses don’t have a plan
The surprise, however, comes in from the fact that most companies don’t have a plan. Even though they do believe that digital disruption will change the course of their industry, they seldom have a plan to kick start this innovation for their business.
According to the research, only 47 percent of the organizations said that they had developed or communicated a formal business strategy for the future. For these organizations, the digital disruptions was surely a cause of concern and a threat that could throw them off the market.
But, companies who still don’t take this wave of disruption seriously, must move beyond experimentations. They must think of their place in a digital economy. This change must come from the highest leadership position in the company. One- third of the respondents of the HBR survey believed that it is the CEO that leads the digital transformation efforts, more than any other position. In other words, the closer digital efforts get to a company’s core business model and revenue streams, the more likely will the CEO lead.
Digital disruption is real
Most companies struggle with the idea of digital disruption and what it means to implement it in their businesses. Abbie Lundberg, Hardvard Business Review Editor and Contributor, points out that its time for businesses to take digital disruption seriously. According to what global leaders say, becoming a digital business is a top priority for every leader who wants to survive beyond the year 2020.
While some organizations are yet to enact a digital strategy are delaying by design. On the other hand, considering how rapidly things are changing in the industry, some companies value flexibility over formal planning. Similarly, there are a few organizations that have taken a decentralized approach to innovation. They are pushing it to the edges of the organization, in the hope that they will gain more local relevance.
For companies who are aware of this digital disruption and not doing anything are facing the lack of leadership. It didn’t matter whether organizations fell into the digital leader or hybrid buckets, CEO and CIO had a crucial role to play in an organization’s lead transformation efforts.
Microsoft is one such organization that has for the past several years strategically planned and executed its digital transformation efforts . The experience is an eye-opener for organizations striving to sail with the wave. Microsoft was once positioned a vendor of software and hardware. But, to serve the customers more effectively, it had to get out of that position and focus on helping customers achieve the best outcomes. The company adopted a boundary-less approach and shared a sense of accountability for customer outcomes. Undergone its transformation, companies from all walks of life now turn to Microsoft to help them reevaluate their business with a mix of technologies like cloud, IoT, AI etc.
Whether companies love digital disruption or resist it, there is no going back from here. The demands and expectations of the customers are rapidly changing. In other words, they are ones driving the disruption and not technology. Technology like Dynamics 365 Development is merely providing businesses with the tools to cater to changing customer expectations. The sooner the companies realize this fact, the better will they sail in the wave.