Have you seen the 1996 movie Twister, based on tornadoes disrupting the neighborhoods? A group of people try to perfect devices - called Dorothy - which have hundreds of sensors and are to be released in the center of a twister, so proper data can be collected to create a more advanced warning system and save people.
Today, if we apply the same analogy, digital is disrupting every business, if you stand still and don’t adapt you will become a digital dinosaur. Everyone wants to get that advance warning of what is coming ahead. Even if your business is doing well right now, you will never know who will disrupt you tomorrow.
We have seen these disruption waves and innovations in technologies – mainframe era, mini computers era, personal computers & client-server era and internet era. Then came the 5th wave of the SMAC era, comprising of Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud technologies.
Gone are the days when we used to wait for vacations to meet our families and friends by traveling to native places, or abroad. Today, all of us are interacting with each other on social media rather than in person, on Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on.
Mobile enablement has helped us to interact with consumers anytime, anywhere, on any device. We stare at smartphone screens more than 200 times a day.
Analytics came in to power the hyper-personalization in each interaction and send relevant offers and communications to customers. The descriptive analytics gave the power to know what is happening to the business right now, while predictive analytics gave the insight of what may happen. Going further, prescriptive analytics gave the foresight of what actions should be taken to make things happen.
Cloud gave organizations the ability to quickly scale up at a lower cost as the computing requirements grow with secure private clouds.
Today, we are in the 6th wave of disruption beyond the SMAC era - into Digital Transformation, bringing Big Data, Internet of things, APIs, Microservices, Robotics, 3d printing, augmented reality/virtual reality, wearables, drones, beacons, and blockchain.
- Big Data allows companies to store all the data generated in the universe to be used to further competitive edge.
- The Internet of Things allows machines, computers, and other smart devices to communicate with each other and help us carry out various tasks remotely.
- APIs are getting a lot of attention as they are easy, lightweight, can be plugged into virtually any system, and are highly customizable to ensure data flows between disparate systems.
- Microservices are independently developed & deployable, small, modular services.
- Robotics is bringing about the wave of intelligent automation with the help of cognitive computing.
- 3D Printing, or additive manufacturing, is taking the several industries like medicine, the military, engineering, and manufacturing by storm.
- Augmented reality / virtual reality is set to change the travel, real estate, and education industries.
- Wearables such as smart watches, health trackers, and Google Glass can offer real time updates, ensure better health, and enable hands-free process optimization in areas like item picking in a warehouse.
- Drones have come out of the military zone and are available for common use. The likes of Amazon and Dominos are using them for delivery, while insurance and agriculture are using them for aerial surveys.
- Beacons are revolutionizing the customer experience with in-store analytics, proximity marketing, indoor navigation, and contactless payments.
- The new kid on the block is blockchain - the finance industry is all set to take advantage of this burgeoning technology.
As products and services are getting more digitized, traditional business processes, business models, and even business are being disrupted. The only way to survive this twister is to get closer to your customers by offering an occasionally radically different way of doing business that’s faster, simpler, and cheaper.