Is digital transformation always disruptive?

1.6k views2 Upvotes6 Comments

VP of Products, 201 - 500 employees
The way I describe it to my teams has always been that change is the new normal, and we need to adapt to a reality in which change is constant. That means we have to make change cheap and easy instead of making change huge and expensive in this big heavyweight organizational change management process. You can't bring in a seven figure consultant every other week when you want to roll out your next iteration or your next evolution in how you create value. You have to figure out how you operationalize that lightweight change approach so that you can continue to progress forward. Transformation is a journey, not a destination. You're never done. You're only getting better. And you're getting better as you measure yourselves by the outcomes that you defined as success.

I think in the case of the travel agency I used to work for (CWT), they did a good job of paying attention to what their customers needed, where their customers were headed, and more importantly where the market as a whole was headed. It's very easy to plug your own shrinking customer base all the way to the grave. What's hard is watching where everybody's going, where the market is going and making the investments necessary that may end up cannibalizing some of your existing revenue streams to create the feature. This is your classic innovator's dilemma. And so CWT made a very conscious decision to say, "We're going to invest a lot of money over many years to make sure that we're preparing ourselves for the future." When I joined, part of my task was to help drive a lot of the platform, process, and DevOps changes necessary for us to be able to deliver at that next level.
AWS Enterprise Service Manager - Global Accounts in Software, 10,001+ employees
I don't think it's a matter of, is it going to be disruptive? It is disruptive. In “cloud years,” things are changing rapidly, so disruption is the way of the future. You are either going to transform and disrupt or you're going to be left behind. 10-15 years ago, you had a little time to analyze and see what the competitors were doing first. That is no longer the case. You have to innovate. So many businesses close because they are just too afraid to be disruptive in their industry. Whatever industry you're in, if you're not looking 5-10 years ahead, there's a startup or your competitors who are. It's imperative now, whether you're a small, medium, or large business. With the speed at which new technology comes out, you're never done. Look at some of the serverless technology 5-7 years ago, it wasn't even there. How you develop applications and consume applications, it all continues to change. It's only going to keep getting better. You saw that phenomenon with the internet, and how people consume products, how they get applications. A lot of people were paralyzed. Oh my God, what's that going to do to my walk-up store? What's that going to do to my advertising on radio and TV? These old ways do stuff, they're not around anymore. And there's a reason for it. Look at a company like Netflix. How they transformed from when they first started out. Blockbuster was slow to change even when they saw a threat to their current business model. Netflix comes in and they're mailing out DVDs. That's disruptive. And Netflix realized quickly, those aren't going to be around much longer with the bandwidth that's being spread out there, and how people are going to consume things, so they moved to online delivery of content. And they were quick. They'd been disruptive, in how they first entered industry, then how they changed their business model a few times and continue to change.
3 Replies
Digital Transformation Architect in Software, 10,001+ employees

And I would say with the rise of Disney plus, HBO max, Netflix is upping their game. I mean, they're not done.

AWS Enterprise Service Manager - Global Accounts in Software, 10,001+ employees

No, they can't be done. Everybody's starting to catch up right now. Your place in industry isn't guaranteed. I think we've seen that now in a lot of companies. You've got to keep innovating because people will catch on. A lot of the technologies out there can be copied. A lot of open source stuff. A lot of pre-canned solutions that help deliver content now. So you got to keep innovating.

VP of Products, 201 - 500 employees

Natural selection is not just for animals. There's nobody out there that can guarantee your company survives forever.

CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Done correctly, yes. It should be.

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