The Age of the Digital Disruptor

Posted on January 27, 2016


During the recent nationwide Azure tour, James Staten, General Manager of Cloud and Enterprise Strategy for Microsoft introduced a phrase that should be the mantra for all organizations competing in today’s economy, “If you don’t disrupt, you will be disrupted yourself.”   I was able to attend the presentation in Atlanta and though I didn’t learn much more about Azure than I did the day before, I left with a greater understanding of the business environment of today.  We are living in the age of the digital disruptor.

An article in Forbes Magazine in 2013 stated, “Looking at the world with the eyes of our disruptors, no one company is so essential that it can’t be replaced and no single business model or sector are off-limits to a raw burst of change.”  In an era in which it was originally thought that corporations would rule the world, disruptors are everywhere and they are more than a mere nuisance for even the biggest players on the block.  CNBC just reported last week that Uber now accounts for 41 percent of ground transportation that workers expensed to their employers in the fourth quarter of last year.  Uber now beats out car rentals when it comes to business travel.   Although I haven’t used Uber as of yet, I am an active participant in another disruptive trend setter as I have not booked a single hotel room during my last four getaway trips.  Instead, I have found delightful places to stay through VRBO and AirBnB in which private property owners have gotten my business, and I am thrilled to give it to them as I rent one of my own properties online as well.

digital disuption of innovation

Economic Darwinism as it applies today doesn’t mean that the biggest will prevail.  It means that the most innovative will prevail.  In fact, Economic Darwinism is more prevalent than ever before in a global economy in which competitors in nearly every industry are contending in a race to value.  The mantra, “Know Thy Customer” is more critical than ever.  But on top of that, you must now be able to deliver “what you know” as quickly as possible, before someone else does or before the window of opportunity begins to close.”

Disruptors are innovators that are constantly transforming themselves as well as their business sectors.  They also operate with a level of agility that allows them to deliver experiences to their customers that are more refined and targeted to their needs.  So much of this disruption is being implemented through apps, which means that business must now operate at the speed of an application, and that new applications and innovations must be deployed at the speed of business.

We can only guess what the next disruption will be, but one thing is for certain, I want to be a part it.