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How Not to Be a Victim of Digital Disruption

Digital disruption defines the state of the global economy.

Over the past several decades, the technology industry has come to dominate the marketplace.

Today, the world’s most valuable companies are technology companies.

According to calculations by FXSSI, the top 5 companies include:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Alphabet
  • Apple
  • Berkshire Hathaway

Clearly, technology runs the world.

But what does this mean for your business?

Digital Disruption, Digital Adoption, and Digital Transformation

Digital technology has disrupted many industries, not just the technology sector.

And that trend will continue in the years to come:

  • New technologies will continue emerging, offering more business value to enterprises and customers
  • Businesses that adopt technology early on will stand to profit
  • Companies that don’t adopt, adapt, and evolve will get left behind

When technology is the operating system of the global economy, digital adoption is no longer an option – it is a requirement.

Below are 5 guidelines to help your business stay on top of the digital game.

1. Stay on the Cutting-Edge: Adopt Early

The technology adoption curve describes how new technology spreads in a society.

This bell curve consists of several groups:

  • Innovators – Those who develop a new technology or approach, on the far left of the bell curve.
  • Early Adopters – Groups who proactively test and implement new technologies.
  • Early Majority and Late Majority – The left and right side of the bell curve, respectively, representing the majority of users.
  • Laggards – Those who are most hesitant to adopt new technology, often adopting technology only when they have to.

Generally speaking, the earlier you invest in new technology, the higher the risk-reward potential.

Adopting the newest, hottest software platform may go nowhere … or it may yield massive returns.

Naturally, every time you adopt new tools, you must calculate potential rewards.

But, as we saw above, the companies that run today’s economy are those that innovate earliest.

To stay ahead of the curve, you should too.

2. Maintain a Digital-First Strategy

A digital-first strategy puts digital technology at the forefront of your organizational strategy.

This type of strategy recognizes that technology itself is a huge competitive differentiator. And, in today’s climate, it can mean the difference between success and failure.

In a report by IDG, companies define digital-first differently:

  • 52% focused on enabling worker productivity through tools such as mobile, AI-assisted processes, and data access
  • 49% aimed at better managing business performance through data availability and visibility
  • 46% built strategies around meeting customer experience expectations

Today’s economic conditions make it imperative to take such digital-first business approaches.

3. Look Ahead, Take Action Now

Tomorrow’s digital adoption trends are emerging today. 

These include:

  • AI – Deep learning and machine learning drive many business applications today, from search engines to digital adoption platforms. In the coming years, this field will continue to grow and businesses will be able to earn greater returns.
  • IoT – The Internet of Things integrates machinery with the internet itself. This will include household devices, factory machinery, autonomous vehicles, and much more. Every industry will be impacted to some degree or another – businesses that exploit this trend early can earn significant dividends.
  • Blockchain – The blockchain makes financial transactions safe and fast. But this technology will find many other business applications, including smart contracts, identity security, and cryptocurrencies. 

And much more.

From autonomous vehicles to AI-fueled automation, we are in the midst of a global digital disruption.

It is entirely possible that the changes we have seen so far – such as the internet and mobile technology – are just the beginning.

Design a digital strategy that plans ahead, taking these changes into account.

For better or for worse, a company should make plans that are flexible, changeable, and adaptable. 

They should also plan to utilize technology that is still just demonstrating its potential.

4. Adopt More than Just Technology

Digital disruption is certainly fueling digital transformation.

But businesses need to do more than install new software – they need to make fundamental business changes.

When developing your digital transformation strategy, evaluate:

  • Company Culture – Is your culture open to innovative business strategies? Cultures that aren’t open to change will have a difficult time adapting when change is required.
  • Digital Strategy – Every company must have a digital strategy. This does not necessarily mean putting digital before all else – but companies should be able to thrive in a digital economy.
  • Business Models – New business models, such as agile and lean, make use of digital technology. They are more responsive and flexible, offering a significant competitive edge.

Then develop roadmaps to change these.

For instance, A company culture that uses operating models from two decades ago won’t be able to fully exploit modern workflows.

5. Make Change Permanent

Typically, a change project has a beginning and an end.

However, the marketplace is changing more quickly each day. To keep up, organizations must continually change.

Adaptability requires:

An organization should be able to manage multiple change projects effectively … at the same time.

Each project should be put in the context of an overarching, continuous digital transformation strategy.

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