Special Feature: How to roll with digital disruption

It has been almost half a century since the birth of the Digital Revolution, also known as the Third Industrial Revolution. Digital technology continues to grow at a seemingly exponential rate, surging into all facets of our lives, professional and personal.

By Stuart Mills, regional director, A/NZ, CenturyLink

Stuart Mills is the Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at CenturyLink. Stuart is a recognised IT professional, with over 23 years of experience in sales, strategy and services.

It has been almost half a century since the birth of the Digital Revolution, also known as the Third Industrial Revolution. Digital technology continues to grow at a seemingly exponential rate, surging into all facets of our lives, professional and personal.

In the business world, digital technology adoption is also growing at unmatched levels. This trend is mirrored in recent research suggesting that 50 per cent of organisations intend to become a so-called ‘digital business’ within two years, and 83 per cent in three to five years. By 2020, 75 per cent of businesses are expected to become, or prepare to become, a digital business.

With so much new digital technology emerging, it can be challenging to keep track of it all, and overwhelming to even begin thinking about how to use it to remain competitive in the market. Yet the research findings above suggest that many businesses are clearly thinking about how they can use this emerging technology for their own purposes.

In an industry climate so ripe for digital disruption, companies will inevitably either have to become digital disruptors, or be disrupted by new technology and risk becoming irrelevant in the face of more innovative competitors. 

To overcome the swift changes to industry the worldwide proliferation of digital technology is affecting, organisations must remain open to change and focus on identifying how new technology can improve their business, rather than how it might negatively affect it.

This simple perspective shift is a valuable first step on the path to becoming a digital disruptor. An important part of this approach is to understand early on how businesses can implement new and emerging technology to best serve the organisation. This involves education and no small amount of time spent planning. The process might take time or be stressful, but the benefits of facing change head-on far outweigh the drawbacks.

New and emerging digital technology presents enormous opportunities for those organisations prepared to accept them and use them to transform their businesses. It doesn’t matter how new or old an organisation may be. New firms look to emerging technology to jumpstart their own business models, and established firms can transform themselves using the same technology.

While larger companies may implement new technology internally to drive change, much of the emerging digital technology helping to transform business is becoming available through new consumption models that make it easy for smaller organisations to adopt without prohibitive capital expenditure. 

Cloud architecture, for example, lets businesses rapidly scale IT or enterprise application development environments up or down to suit fluctuating requirements. Because it can be purchased in an increasingly diverse number of ways, such as an ongoing subscription basis, it can be specifically suited to meet the needs of smaller businesses that do not have the resources to implement an equivalent solution internally. Even larger organisations are realising the wisdom of this approach, and are starting to take on outsourced services on a subscription basis for the flexibility they offer.

Businesses of all sizes are now obtain externally-managed IT services, such as datacentre infrastructure, mobility, security, and business continuity through a managed hybrid IT provider. This delivers an enormous amount of flexibility for businesses without the need to bulk up internal resources.

By outsourcing some, or all infrastructure needs, organisations can quickly free up time and money to focus on their core business. Better still, outsourcing traditionally high barrier-to-entry services can also help businesses direct their valuable resources into creating innovative, new kinds of value for customers, while driving efficiencies for all stakeholders. 

 

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