Digital Disruption: How To Ride The Wave?

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 06, 2016


Disruption is becoming a part of modern business. In the world of technology, the old world order is disappearing, and getting replaced by new ones. Those resisting this change are finding their businesses dying. Those capitalizing are remaining afloat, while there are several others who are still learning to cope with the new tide. At a recent panel discussion at Infocom 2016, one of India’s top business-technology forum held in Kolkata, experts shed lights on how enterprises can ride this disruption that’s already underway.

Kamal Agarwala, Founder and CEO, La Exactlly Software and Chairman, Nasscom Eastern Regional Council, who chaired the panel started by saying that disruption is everywhere today. “When you think of brands like Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Google, and many others, we know how they are disrupting the entire business scenario that was previously not imagined,” he said, adding that disruption is becoming a technological evolution of not only businesses, but also that of the human existence.

Disrupt or be disrupted

According to Sundar R V, CTO, Srei Equipment Finance, one of the panelists, “We are going through disruption at every phase in life, demonetization being the recent example. “Disruptive” technologies – technologies that rapidly obsolete entire well-established industries overnight – like the Internet, industrial operations, and aeronautics, have profoundly shaped the world and our daily lives.  For example, if the smartphone revolution hadn’t happened, the economy would look wildly different than they do today.”

Agreed Saunak Ghoshal, Partner PwC noted, who stated that any disruption will lead to innovation in enterprise. it requires a challenging thought process. “It’s often hard to predict exactly what technologies and trends will transform our lives. Few understood just how powerful the Internet would be, dismantling entire industries and creating millions of jobs.” Organizations that are ready to face this challenge head-on and take charge of the digital revolution are the ones that will survive, added Ghoshal.

Riding the wave

The panelists agreed that to be a disruptor or to survive the various disruptive forces in business, enterprise decision makers need to map out key stakeholders and their needs. As K S Arunkumar, President – IT, Emami Group commented, “While the personal characteristics of different organizations will determine whether they will be able to ride disruption, it is important that top management foster a culture wherein they collaborate with their peers and teams to understand what will drive business value, and how they can assist in delivering it.”

Indrajit Sanyal, Senior Director – Network Applications and Cloud, Ericsson Global Services India, believes it is important for companies to put digital ownership on the table. It is important to determine with stakeholders and peers who owns digital and who contributes, besides mapping new technologies and opportunities.

According to Sanyal, while innovation happens randomly, disruption takes place thoughtfully, and therefore, analyzing your own software portfolio, using social network and cloud-based services, creating an API program and building a corporate mobile app are steps towards succeeding in the world of digital disruption.

However, the road to digital transformation will not be simple, believe panelists. The digital world means adjusting to new roles and demands, embracing new technologies, and tapping into new ecosystems to drive competitive advantages. The only alternative however is watching as old-world businesses crumble before our eyes as they fail to react to new threats and opportunities.