Disrupting the status quoBy Mike Smith on
With all the current talk about digital disruption one would think that breakthrough innovation is a contemporary phenomenon. But in reality disruptive innovation has occurred throughout history. In light of the recent 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli invasion it is interesting to discover that transformative technologies helped break the stalemate of trench warfare.
But first, let’s discuss exactly what disruptive innovation is. The term was coined by Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen. His definition is as follows: “It describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.”
The difference between disruptive and sustaining innovation is important. Sustaining innovation is about incremental breakthroughs that make a good product better. Disruptive innovation consists of a breakthrough that transforms the use of complicated or expensive products and opens up access to new products or services.
When the ANZACS arrived in France they dug in and for three years there was no significant territory gain on the Western front – stalemate persisted. But two breakthrough technologies, when used in combination, provided powerful competitive advantage – photography and powered flight. Both were technologies that had been in use for a number of years, but when combined in the form of aerial photography, proved to be a breakthrough adaptation. Tactical air support revealed strong and weak points in the enemy lines, and proved to be a decisive innovation in smashing through the front, thus contributing to the final push in ending the war.
Disruptive technologies therefore do not have to be new or advanced. Rather, Christensen says, “they are often novel combinations of existing off-the-shelf components applied cleverly to a small fledgling value network”. Other examples of massive technology changes would include horse and wagons replaced by automobiles, ocean liners replaced by jets, and a more IT-focussed example, disk databases replaced by in-memory databases.
Identifying which technology has the potential to be ‘breakthrough’ is important. Technologies that matter often have the following characteristics: the technology is rapidly advancing or experiencing breakthroughs; the potential scope of its impact is broad; it has significant economic value; and the economic impact is potentially disruptive.
In the world of IT, mobility and cloud technologies are good examples. Mobility’s reach means its impact is broad, and cloud technology improves productivity and enables the creation of new online products – therefore it has a significant economic value.
As SAP experts Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company is well known for its advocacy and expertise in mobility and cloud technologies. We are now also focussing on another disruptive technology – The Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT are networks of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making and process optimisation. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the IoT provides infrastructure for businesses to securely tap into a network of millions of connected devices. The real world applications are infinite.
Digital disruption is also a driving force to improve efficiencies and productivity that is affecting all service industries and the Government sector. SAP and Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company is leading the charge having recently supplied a cloud-based SAP solution to New Zealand government agency, the Earthquake Commission. We envisage cloud and mobility solutions to continue to force change in the way both business and the public sector operates. In response SAP recently realigned its products’ portfolio so it can provide organisations with integrated Customer Engagement and Commerce (CEC) solutions – a strategy that leverages the digital disruption that is occurring in the market.
Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company is one of the few system integrators that has demonstrable proficiency in the key CEC technologies – SAP hybris, CRM and Cloud for Customer – enabling us to deliver results for customers no matter where they are on the customer acquisition and retention journey.
If you are interested in further information about digital disruption and the SAP solutions available to help your organisation leverage the trend please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org