Digital Disruption: Will Your Company Lead The Way Or Get Disrupted?

By Phil Rainsberger

The drumbeat of technology's impact on businesses these days can be deafening: cloud computing, data breaches, AI, augmented reality, GDPR, data privacy, Big Data, blockchain, machine learning, digital transformation, and on and on and on.

How much of this is just noise, and how much of it is real? Well, we could make a very good case that it's all real—and that it's all getting more important all the time—but how do you as a business leader figure out where and how to set your priorities?

Forrester Research is a well-respected technology-advisory firm that helps businesses deal with those questions, and in that context, Forrester recently offered some predictions for this 2018, which is referred to in the title as "A Year Of Reckoning." 

It's a good title for the piece because business leaders do indeed have a lot to reckon with as you evaluate how your business needs to change, where your new opportunities lie, what new products or services you need to offer, and then how technology might help you address those issues, dazzle your customers, and beat your competitors.

In the introduction to its report, Forrester says, "Many factors are combining to define the fate of companies: 

• Unmet customer expectations are resulting in churn; 

• the lack of digital transformation gains is translating to loss of market share;

• industry lines that protected some are crumbling; 

• and longstanding, durable business models are failing."

Those observations—and remember, this is just from the introductory section; these are not the 10 big predictions for the year—raise lots of questions that we might prefer to put off for another day because, after all, we've got a business to run here! But the nature of the questions, and the implications that not only those questions but also our answers hold for the future of our businesses, indicates that the time to think about them is right now.

What are those "unmet customer expectations?" 

How can I determine what they are, and then figure out how to meet them?

What is my customer-churn rate—and how do I reverse it?

What does "digital transformation" mean for my company?

How will it benefit my company? How are my competitors benefitting from it?

Am I doomed to lose market share unless I undergo this digital transformation?

How is my industry changing? Is that helping me or hurting me?

If the walls around my industry do indeed come crumbling down, will I be among those that are exposed to sudden new changes that I can't overcome?

How do I get out in front of these changes? How might some of those technologies mentioned above help me transform, meet customer expectations, and grow?

Forrester says "longstanding, durable business models are failing"—does my own business model fall into that category? If so, how do I change it? What role can those new technologies play in helping me recognize what I need to do, and then deliver on that?

We all have plenty to do, and we can all convince ourselves that we can't spare the time to think about what might or might not be happening down the road with all those geeky tech stuff.

But the truth is, the future is coming at us faster than ever before—and the pace of change is in fact accelerating. If I don't make the time to understand what's coming, how will I ever be able to keep up?

Here at Tier1, we're in the business of helping you answer the types of questions raised above. You know your business, and we know business technology and how it can help—we'd love to have the chance to chat with you about where your company needs to go in our fast-changing world.