Are You Sure You Will Not be Disrupted?

Following up from my first #TechTalk on Digitization and Its Pitfalls, I conducted a second #TechTalk on Twitter which touched on the issue of digital disruption: how can usinesses know if they are at risk of being digitally disrupted?

This issue is highly relevant and important for businesses, especially those holding management positions. While many understand the whole idea of ‘disruption’ and are able to highlight Uber and Airbnb as disrupters in the transportation and accommodation industries respectively, very few know with certainty whether there is a ‘shark coming their way’ to disrupt their own businesses. 

Not many businesses know for sure, how ‘safe’ are they from being digitally disrupted.

A brief article was written on this matter just a few weeks back. Nonetheless, I thought it is worth revisiting some of the points in that article. This was what the second #TechTalk on Twitter last week aimed to do, which is included in this article, together with some key additional insights.

#TechTalk 2: Digital Disruption+Key Additional Insights

During this second #TechTalk, I shared 10 key points on #digitaldisruption based on extensive research by McKinsey. If you missed it, below is the compilation of the tweets:

Overview #1: #Businesses face digital disruption from digital attackers in different parts of the world.

Overview #2: I’ll talk more on #digitaldisruption and some indicators which can be used to gauge if you’re vulnerable to being disrupted. Don’t be caught off-guard!

Tweet #1: In many industries, old models are being #disrupted in a way that surprises existing #businesses.

Tweet #2: It is important for businesses to understand how they can possibly be disrupted. Not who will be disrupting them.

A brief note and analogy to elaborate on Tweet #2:

A CEO of an insurance company wants to ensure that her company stays ahead of the game. So her team studied every single move that the disrupters took. With this insight, her team also predicted the list of players who can potentially be disruptive. Soon her team has managed to chart who needs to be monitored, what partnerships need to be pursued, and which digital initiatives need to be launched.

Just as the team’s members begin to feel satisfied with their efforts, the CEO brings the proceedings to a halt. “Hang on,” she says. “Are we sure we really understand the nature of the disruption we face? What about the next 50 start-ups and the next wave of innovations? How can we monitor them all? Don’t we need to focus more on the nature of the disruption we expect to occur in our industry rather than on who the disruptors are today? I’m pretty sure most of those on our list won’t be around for a decade, yet by then we will have been fundamentally disrupted. And how do we get ahead of these trends so we can be the disruptors, too?”

Tweet #3: #Digitization can disrupt industries when it changes the nature of supply, demand or both.

Tweet #4: #Disruptions can happen when new demands are created by unbundling/tailoring or making services easy & now.

Tweet #5: #Disruptions can happen when previously inaccessible supplies are exposed and brought to market (eg Uber). 

Additional Insights on Tweet #5:

Some called this concept or style of digital disruption as the ‘Uberisation Phenomena’. This is now more and more relevant for the players in the professional service industries (or ‘Expert Market’) and hence they need to pay close attention to it. Believe it or not, the “Uberisation” phenomena is transforming many high-profile industries, such as medical, legal, accounting, among others.

Tweet #6: So how do we know when a digital attack is coming our way? Here are 4 indicators.

Additional Insights on Tweet #6:

For example, in a typical academic tuition programme, students are required to travel to a physical tuition centre and attend a 2-hour lesson within a stipulated schedule. This has been the norm for quite sometime until players like Ruangguru come in to disrupt the market. Students can now consult a teacher at anytime, from anywhere, right from their mobile devices. A similar concept of disruption can be seen in other industries as well. In healthcare, legal, financial advisory and others.

Tweet #7: Ability to consult experts anytime & anywhere from mobile phones are forcing #businesses to reshape. 


Tweet #8: A key point on customers today: they expect to have their needs met at the place & time of their choice.


Tweet #9: For #professionalservices we are able to see a shark lurking underwater. 


Tweet #10: With #webrtc/#chats, #businesses will be able to find #disruptive ways to meet today’s customer expectations.

The full research can be found here.

This article is written by Muhammad Md Rahim, the Co-Founder of Qiscus, based in Singapore. You can reach him on Twitter: @muhammadmdrahim


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