Disruptive Innovation Will Keep Our Businesses Alive

Managing Director,
SAP Philippines

Published on

We’ve already seen how digital transformation has spawned technologies that changed the business landscape. With hyperconnectivity and supercomputing becoming the new normal for businesses, the old configurations of how we manage processes have lost their traction and become unfit in an innovation-driven system.

Given the demands of digitisation, tech-savvy startups will certainly up the ante by building on their capabilities enough to challenge the more mature companies in the industry. It’s dog-eat-dog for all businesses, and the only way to keep going is to anticipate disruptions and move ahead.

Disruptive innovation has happened throughout history: the arrival of Intel processors, the reinvention of shopping courtesy of Amazon, the Uber business model. It happens when incumbent’s customers are snapping up the services and products of rival startups.

But what are the tell-tale warnings that indicate our business is ripe for digital disruptions? What if our businesses only have rooms for incremental innovations? How can we overturn the tide and survive the competition?

About to be disrupted?

According to IBM’s recent Global C-suite Study that was reported in SAP’s Digital Economy eBook, these are the possible signs that disruptions can happen anytime soon:

  • Venture capitalists are increasingly becoming interested to be part of companies related to our sector.
  • Technology is being used to trim down costs, rather than build a base of fully-connected customers who can be sources of new revenue streams.
  • Our business is no longer appealing to a new generation of customers such as the millennials, as past efforts have been devoted to satisfying old customers. This creates a barrier for our business to roll out new features and services that highly target other segments of the market.
  • In an effort to deliver face-to-face interaction, our business must have neglected to offer digital touch points, which new customers, especially the millennials, value nowadays.
  • When customer satisfaction is low in our industry, it signals an opportunity for startups to come in and deliver better service to the customers.

When customer satisfaction is low in our industry, it signals an opportunity for startups to come in and deliver better service for the customers.

While we keep these signs in mind, it’s also necessary to work on our business capabilities, proactively seeking avenues where we can bring in greater value for our customers. We need to anticipate possible disruptions in the environment, yes, but we must equally devote our time to strengthening our brand and reputation, which are the cornerstones of any successful enterprise.

Surviving digital upheavals

If we want to stay relevant and valuable to our customers, we must consider the following:

Look for consumer pain points. To effectively lead prospects down the marketing funnel, we must show empathy as entrepreneurs. It’s not all about profit. When we genuinely seek to understand how we can better serve our customers, we can deliver products, solutions, and services that target their needs upfront.

Adopt new and relevant business models. The ability to adopt new and relevant business models spells the survival of any business in the market. Faced with complexities, business leaders must exercise foresight and encourage collaboration—the bedrock of an open innovation model—to spot unexamined trends which can be another source of unique value proposition for the business.

Train people and make them players in a culture of innovation. One way to manage digital disruptions is by building an ecosystem of highly capable employees and like-minded innovators. Going digital does not only mean automating business processes; more importantly, it’s about readying people to take on digital challenges and ensuring their skills and competencies are upgraded to suit current business requirements. Also, strengthening partnerships with other innovative organisations will help in steering clear of disruptions down the road.

Harness potential of technologies. Technology is a sure game changer. When we start embedding digital into what we do, reaching out to customers in ways that are far from conventional, we have greater chances not only of meeting customer needs, but also exceeding expectations. Taking advantage of technologies like cloud computing will allow us to act with greater agility than our competitors, and put us ahead of the curve.

We’re clearly in the era of disruption, and our leadership has to be ready for uncertainties, the great unknown. As the business environment becomes more competitive, industry players must learn to piggyback on each other’s innovation, while anticipating trends that are likely to change the rules of the game.

Innovation—a term that must not be lumped along with other tired expressions—must keep businesses moving forward and get us ahead of the curve.

Learn more about digital disruption. Download Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.


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