The term digital disruption has been used to strike fear into the heart of executives faced with ever-rising consumer expectations and new agile competitors. But a new report from Gartner argues disruption can be a positive phenomenon.
The report, Top 10 Myths About Digital Disruption authored by analyst David Smith, examines the misconceptions which surround the buzzword that can distract businesses and impede progress.
Gartner describes digital disruption as “an effect that changes the fundamental expectations in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets”.
Smith said disruption is neither inherently good or bad, but it is always good for someone. To ensure CIOs are on the right side of disruption, Smith recommends companies take advantage of the opportunities created by disruption and don’t dwell exclusively on the threats.
He explained digital disruption is an overused buzzword, “there are people throwing the term around and then changing the subject. But disruption is real also — and incredibly relevant and important.”
Smith noted consumer markets aren’t the only places where digital disruption occurs. It expands beyond consumer markets due to the consumerisation of IT where things happen in the consumer markets first and then impact businesses.
Tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Google are often cited as the source of disruption however, the report argues, the bulk of disruption comes from smaller mid-tier companies.
Digital disruption affects everyone and even disruptors are prone to being disrupted. Smith noted secondary effects coming from a disruption are often disruptions themselves. He used the example of the smartphone as a original disruption and the secondary disruptions as using smartphones for navigation which reshaped the industry for heavyweights like Navman and TomTom.
Smith said some organisations may be labelled disruptive but they behave differently. There are also different types of disruption.
When it comes to figuring out where digital disruption originates, Smith said it is not always from technology.
He said, “While technology is usually part of the cause and impact of a disruption, it is not the only cause and impact. In fact, often the most impactful disruptions are in society, industry and business.”