Digital disruption is everywhere. Amazon is a prime example of a company that completely disrupted an industry through digital. Once a simple online book store, Amazon is now ubiquitous in online retail and leads the industry it revolutionised. The online marketplace has grown exponentially through convenience and unbeatable customer service. Amazon went on to introduce Web Services, Prime, Fresh, Kindle, Dash and most recently Go – a revolutionary new format for the physical store.
Amazon’s quick expansion into almost everything is part of the reason why businesses were so fearful of its impact. However, it’s clear to see retailers have been driven to improve their online offering and offer better customer service as a result of Amazon’s influence. Businesses cannot fear the impact of technology, so much so, that it becomes a byword for all things big, bad and scary. Instead leaders must acknowledge the benefits of disruption and embrace innovative technology themselves, like Amazon did, to secure their place in the future.
“Good and evil”: Two sides of the same coin
Digital innovation – and disruption – means that markets are changing at a faster pace than ever before. With the additional emergence of cybersecurity threats it’s not surprising business leaders might begin to live in fear of new technologies. As everything becomes further connected, particularly with the growth and implementation of the Internet of Things change makers might veer away from new technology, cling to what’s familiar and effectively bury their heads in the sand. Our recent global ‘Fit for Digital’ research found that 33% of businesses believe an internal culture/fear of change could hinder its ability to respond to digital, but shying away from the potential opportunities is not the correct approach.
Good and evil are both necessary requirements for a story. When it comes to movies, there is always a hero and a villain. It’s usually very clear who’s who when it comes to fictional characters, but there are mixed feelings in the business community in regards to which role digital transformation and disruption plays. Earlier this year a plan to use biometric recognition to automate Australia’s airport security raised privacy and ethical concerns. 90% of passengers would go through security via facial, iris and fingerprint identification. Yet, biometrics expert Professor Katina Michael expressed her qualms with the technology, which is not guaranteed to improve security or efficiency.
With any new idea that is technology-led, businesses must carefully assess how to implement the concept. This means doing the appropriate testing, trial runs and thoroughly considering all other options available; the latter is important to understand because there is no point in using technology just for the sake of using it i.e. because others are doing so.
Taking courage in digital transformation
Tesla is a prime example of a business not taking no as an answer and pursuing a path to revolutionise an entire industry. A recent crash was, as always, criticised in the media. However, as one writer in The Guardian pointed out, it turned out to be a missed opportunity:
“As new technologies emerge into the world, it is vital for governments to open them up, look at their moving parts and decide how to realise their potential while guarding against their risks.”
Following the crash, a report from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found there was no cause to recall the Model S version of the driverless car involved in the accident.
Our research found that 94% of business leaders were either very confident or confident they will be able to thrive in the face of digital disruption; a further 67% are excited by the ideas and concepts it will bring forth. But being excited isn’t enough – businesses must take active steps to embrace and use innovation themselves. Elon Musk’s innovative company is an excellent example for any business looking to innovate forward. Crucially, being ill-prepared in 2017 is no longer an excuse: the most digitally forward-thinking business will be the only one to succeed.
Technology isn’t to be feared; businesses must embrace new ideas with an open mind
Making digital disruption the protagonist in their story is the only way that business leaders will be able to reap success. In a movie, the anti-hero redefines what it means to be a hero. They take on characteristics that aren’t usually found in a traditional hero but ultimately end up being the person that ignites any positive change. Digital disruption is the anti-hero of the business world, making great and often scary changes but ultimately driving businesses to be better. Some may fear it, even position it as evil, but this isn’t a fairy tale. Technology is impacting everything around us and businesses have to lead digital transformation. Otherwise it could soon be ‘The End.’