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Disruptive Technologies: An Opportunity or a Threat?

Disruptive technologies may be seen as an opportunity or a threat, depending on one’s role within an enterprise; fortunately, the positivity of perspective easily becomes a choice when CIOs and CMOs are able to step back to take a look at the bigger picture and determine to collaborate in the interest of the organization as a whole. 

The term “disruptive” is rather loaded, however, and may be counterintuitive to those who do not understand its full implications. By definition, a “disruptive” trend or technology is a product, service or technology that becomes the preferred or optimal option for customers because of its modified and improved value offering; in actuality, it may be beneficial to think of the term “disruptive technology” as an “emerging opportunity” instead.  Regardless of the term used, it is clear that disruptive trends such as cloud computing, big data, and mobile technology can be leveraged for the benefit of any organization or enterprise. 

What is critical is that both IT and business professionals understand the full implications of these trends, their adoption stages and their benefits, and leverage them appropriately. 

When the C-Suite is able to comprehend the emerging, differentiating and business value stages of each disruptive trend or technology, they can use it to its fullest advantage for business model transformation, competitive advantage and optimal scale. 

“Nexus of Forces”, a term coined by the IT research company Gartner, describes the junction and corroboration of social media, mobile technology, cloud computing and information that motivates new business developments. Gartner posits that despite the fact that these separate entities are innovative and disruptive alone, they are, in conjunction, revolutionizing business and society. As a result, antiquated business models are on their way out and new leaders are emerging. In fact, IDC (International Data Corporation) has predicted that these entities combined will be the driving force behind IT market growth over the next six years and they have termed this phenomenon the “third platform”.

As these emerging disruptive technologies make way and change the IT infrastructure and its relationship to the architecture of the enterprise, the relationship between the business, operations, marketing and IT departments is dramatically impacted.

As a result, professionals across board must learn to shape and combine those emerging opportunities to meet the objectives of the organization. IT professionals must adapt to support those users who are taking advantage of these new technologies, and business and marketing professionals must be mindful of the value of IT when it comes to innovation, integration and security, which is at increasing risk given the more valuable and vulnerable nature of big data.

Perhaps the biggest learning curve in this situation lies in unification and cooperation across the C-Suite, thus allowing the benefits of disruptive technologies (opportunities) to maximize throughout their lifecycle as they grow and change over time, but equally as important is the organizational wide collaboration of various departments in order to position IT as an enabler and a booster of business performance.

Many have suggested that success in the future of the enterprise lies in cross training and hiring; we will begin to see more IT professionals who have more knowledge database about marketing, and more marketing pros who are tech savvy. Some think that by 2020 the two roles will have merged, or at least become less distinct, and that we will see an emergence of new roles such as Chief Experience Officer, as well as directors of content and social media. Nonetheless, IT concerns such as security and compliance will continue to be vital to every organization, and that is not necessarily something the CMO can handle.

 

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Tags: IT, disruptive, technology

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