ICT evolution: From exponential technologies to disruptive innovations
By KT Ong June 24, 2015
- Exponential change in technology has caused disruptive innovations in the market
- Not feasible to let the IT department alone drive the technology discussion
FOR many years, IT leaders and analysts have spoken about the exponential growth of technological advances.
From Moore’s Law of 1965 which describes the doubling of computer processing speed every 18 months, to Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends Report which highlights the virtuous cycle of technological innovations, one thing remains consistent: The current pace of technological advancement is unprecedented in history and shows no signs of slowing down.
The exponential change in core digital technologies has catalysed many disruptive innovations in the market today.
As computing power, storage and bandwidth – the three core building blocks of digital technology – continue to improve, traditional concepts are redefined as a result of exponential innovation.
Impact on supply and demand
The evolution of information technologies has overhauled the way products and services are conceived and delivered. From the retail to the media industries, businesses operating in traditional models have to evolve and embrace the rapid advances of core digital technologies in order to stay relevant.
Ten years ago, we saw how companies could thrive in their respective industries simply by creating unique products and delivering them to consumers. Businesses like Warner Music, Kodak and local DVD rental stores could succeed on a more straightforward business model.
Today, companies like Spotify, Instagram and Netflix have almost completely replaced these businesses.
These and other disruptive companies have achieved success by focusing their core competencies less on the product itself (in this case, the music, pictures and movies), and more on developing and deploying innovative platforms and services that deliver products more effectively, efficiently, and easily.
The pressure to innovate
As disruptive companies begin to use technological advancements to transform business models and deliver products to customers in new ways, business leaders, regardless of industry, face pressure to be agents of change and drivers of innovation to meet the changing expectations of their stakeholders.
However, one problem persists: While technology continues to develop, the ability of people and organisations to fully adopt new technologies have not kept pace.
For example, security is a top concern for many organisations – according to Dell’s Global Technological Adoption Index – and, due to its inherent complexity, creates barriers to the adoption of cloud, big data, and mobility, which inhibits overall innovation.
This growing gap between exponential change in technologies and the rate at which an organisation is able to respond and continuously improve offers an opportunity for businesses to re-think their business models and embrace change.
In addition to innovations in products and services that may unleash new revenue streams, businesses can also think about innovation in the workplace to improve workforce productivity to enhance employee effectiveness – and reduce costs.
One example is through work environment redesign, by adopting secure cloud and mobile technologies to give employees access to information from anywhere and on any device, enabling employees to get more work done more efficiently – without jeopardising data security.
The culture of innovation should not merely stop at incremental changes in products or services, but can extend to the creation of new and improved organisational processes and behaviours engineered to enhance business performance.
Embracing exponential innovation
Adapting to technology disruption is not just about improving the quality of products and services that an organisation delivers, but also requires an evolution in culture, the skillsets of people, and the processes required for them to optimally perform.
It is not feasible for a successful organisation to let the IT department alone drive the technology discussion. Everyone with a position of responsibility in the company has to think about the ways in which processes can be improved through technology.
Digital transformation must be at the top of the chief executive officer’s priority list; the chief information officer should think about how technology can better serve the needs of customers and constituents.
In today’s world, the only constant is exponential change. To survive, businesses and organisations must be drivers of innovation, continually seeking ways to use technology to be disruptive to the status quo, and embrace new and better business models to perform better, faster, and at lower cost than the competition – a recipe that has worked for centuries.
Those with the right mindset, the right resources, the right technology and the right partners will be well-positioned to transform themselves to better meet their customers’ needs.
KT Ong is the general manager of Commercial Business at Dell Malaysia.
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