There’s no denying that technology has been the most significant disruptive force in business across the past decade. Products and services have become more connected, and emerging technologies such as automation and AI are offering unforeseen opportunities to businesses.
Technology disruption is defined as ‘technology that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or creates a completely new industry’. With disruption the stakes are high; business models within industry sectors are changing beyond recognition, and advances spurred by data analytics are catapulting some businesses miles ahead of their competitors. However, digital disruption comes with its downsides: primarily, many companies cannot keep up with the pace of change.
Overcoming the challenge of disruption: The CTO responsibility
This begs the question: is digital disruption an opportunity or a hindrance?
According to a new study from Savoy Stewart, the property consultancy, while 19.3% of companies feel that the pace of technological change has made them significantly more competitive in the past three years, a large majority of companies are still struggling to keep up with this change.
Interestingly, Savoy Stewart discovered that one in four businesses still struggle to keep up with the times and thrive from digital disruption. Despite this, whilst weighing up the opportunity vs. threat of technological disruption, 39.6% of businesses feel that it provides them with new opportunities to improve and grow as a company.
According to Savoy Stewart, this is because of the approach companies take to technology adaption; 24.4% of those surveyed admitted to having no approach. Positively, 50.4% claimed to have a proactive ‘opportunity-minded’ approach, ensuring they remain competitive and up to date.
Taking into account that 25.1% of respondents seem to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, it comes as no surprise that 30.7% of companies felt that the impact of technological change over the past three years has made them less competitive.
What’s the role of the CTO in digital transformation?
A spokesperson added: “The window of opportunity to gain competitive advantage generally falls inside a window of three years. It is, therefore, critical for business leaders to understand the value of technologically proactive leadership and operational agility. The faster a company can use technology disruption to their advantage, the more likely it is to surge ahead of its competitors.”
The good news: 29.9% of respondents feel “very excited” about their ability to adapt over the next three years – surprisingly, only 18.3% rated themselves as “Digital Leaders”.
A further 35% feel “somewhat optimistic” about their ability to adapt and 36.3% of companies that rated themselves to be ‘Digital Adopters’; easily adaptable and proactive in their approach to evolve with technology disruption.
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Digital transformation is not a new concept – recent years have seen the rapid evolution of technology in business, from the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain to chatbots, machine learning and virtual reality
Following suit, 23.4% are a “little concerned” about their ability to adapt over the next three years, indicating their company is adaptable but passive in their approach. Which is once again close in correlation to the number of businesses that rated themselves to be ‘Digital Followers’ at 22%.
Lastly, 12% of businesses are “very worried” about their ability to adapt to technological change. Which is interesting considering almost double (23.4%), rated themselves to be ‘Digital Laggards’.