Traditionally, incumbent companies have relied on three main competitive advantages to maintain their leadership positions over newcomers: 1) large customer bases, 2) strong brand equity, and 3) access to large amounts of inexpensive capital.
Today, however, these attributes no longer provide the protective mote needed to fend off today’s agile, innovative, and risk-taking competition. Cisco’s recent Digital Vortex research determined four out of 10 incumbents will be displaced in just the next five years.
Five years ago, the taxi industry seemed about as immune to digital disruption as any industry could be. Taxis, after all, were purely analog contraptions, far removed from digital innovation, software, apps, and the like. What’s more, their business model seemed as foolproof as the day it was created in the early 1900s: drivers prowled the streets until they spotted customers hailing a ride, drove them to their destination, and collected the fare.
Right? Well, wrong, actually. Enter Uber, and the taxi industry will never be the same.
Uber is a great example of what our recent Digital Vortex thought leadership called combinatorial disruption. In today’s climate of constant digital disruption, technologies and business models collide, combine, and recombine in startling ways. As the Digital Vortex sweeps everything of value to the center, non-digital processes fall away, to be replaced by more efficient value drivers.
In this model, the creation of new value is everything; the old value chain, meanwhile, is redefined to the point of being unrecognizable or obsolete with unnerving (for an industry incumbent) speed. Read More »
The ancient Roman poet Virgil might feel at home in the Digital Age (once the initial future shock wears off!). He famously said, “Fortune favors the bold.” These words have never been more prescient.
In a recent article, we likened the current climate of ever-present disruption, innovation, and change to a Digital Vortex, in which ideas and technologies constantly break apart and recombine — often into highly disruptive and sometimes unexpected new business models (Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Fortune magazine’s list of unicorns have benefited from this phenomena).
In the Digital Vortex, bold innovation and gutsy, disruptive new business models are a necessity. That is, if you want your company to be a disruptor rather than disrupted.
By their very nature, startups exemplify this bold approach. They are smaller, more agile, able to experiment, innovate and execute faster, and recover from minor missteps more quickly. Above all, they are digital. Read More »
By 2020, 75% of business will become digital in some way by deploying solutions that leverage the intersection of people, process, data, and things—the very definition of the Internet of Everything (IoE). For example, IoE will drive an improvement of earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) of 15.6% in retail, 14.5% in financial services, and 12.8% in manufacturing.
Connected Devices and Sensors Everywhere
The rapid adoption of IoE and the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the number of connected devices into the billions worldwide. Cisco’s own estimate shows there are 25 billion connected devices today, and will be 50 billion by 2020.
While sheer the number of devices grabs the headlines, there is an even more powerful force at work that will add to the tremendous disruption CIOs and senior IT executives are experiencing across all industries. (For more about this disruption, please refer to my blog titled, The Digital Vortex: Relentless, Disruptive, Chaotic — and Empowering.)
The enduring impact of Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law combined with unprecedented innovation is resulting in sensors that are changing the world to become hyper-aware, hyper-predictive, and hyper-agile. Cisco estimates that 54 billion sensors will be shipped this year.
Leading companies are using these new capabilities to do things like monitor and expedite the time it takes prepare planes for boarding, reduce customer wait times by predicting 40 minutes in advance when lines will become too long, increase factory production rates by ensuring workers always have the right tools at hand, and anticipate structural failures to save lives and reduce costs.
New Business Models and Value Creation
In this new environment, three digital business models are pointing the way forward: 1) Frictionless Life, 2) Hyper-Relevance, and 3) Community. Each model delivers a different type of value.
I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: across industries, digital disruption is threatening to overturn incumbents and reshape markets faster than perhaps any force in history. Now the good news: companies can take control of their own destiny by embracing digital transformation and the Internet of Everything (IoE).
Let’s take a closer look. By “digital disruption,” I’m referring to the effect of digital technologies and business models on a company’s current value proposition — and its resulting market position. Digital disruptors innovate rapidly, and then use their innovations as a powerful competitive advantage to gain market share and scale far faster than challengers still clinging to traditional business models that can’t keep up with the pace of change.