Mapping the Disruptors: Look Well Ahead, and Around the Corner!

Drone flying over river towards city carrying a delivery parcel
Drone waiters, the purchase of light or compressed air by the unit and of office space by the hour are a few of the more colourful examples of disruptions to traditional industry sectors. Disruption is possibly the most overused word in the lexicon of business right now, but arguably, it also represents the greatest threat to any incumbent.

Disruption is not new. Think of the invention of the wheel, or more latterly the steam engine or the spinning jenny, which were preludes to the industrial revolution. However, digital technology, combined with the connectivity of objects and sensors, is providing many new opportunities for disruption: they are coming thick and fast.

As this pace of change and disruption becomes a new business norm, so CEOs and their boards of directors are having to find ways of planning for rapidly emerging business landscapes: Enterprise Services (ES) calls it “Mapping the Disruptors”. It has designed a method and tool, complete with a virtual reality headset, to help its customers identify disruptors not only in the future but just around the corner, too.

Called Xtech, the generic version of the tool defines the business and technology disruptors that customer organizations are facing today and will be facing in the future. Additionally, ES has produced a bespoke version of the tool for each of the major industry sectors – FinTech, ManTech, PubTech – that reflects the relevant disruptors.

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Business disruptors are categorized in terms of the client’s business value chain, while the technology disruptors are grouped into four transformation areas. One of the most riveting sights of Discover London, was customers trying on the disruptor headset and exploring the virtual landscape, and the ensuing conversations were pretty lively, too.

Together with our community, BVEx will be exploring how to map the disruptors, and how it takes an entire team and representation of the organization to acquire the necessary 360-degree vision. And just as important, what to do with the new found insight. In the meantime here are my three of the best:

  • Liquid Space is an app that allows every office with any spare capacity to make money by renting that space by the hour, week or month. It may put an end to some of the high-end serviced office offerings that charge incredible amounts of money for a casual desk and phone in your capital city.
  • In Singapore, flying robot waiters are being deployed as an alternative to staff – they can carry up to 2kg of food and drink, which is about two pints of beer, a pizza and two glasses of wine. The unpiloted robots whizz above the heads of diners on paths charted by a computer program, and navigate using infrared sensors placed around the restaurant.
  • Kaeser Kompressoren is a global manufacturer of compressed air systems in the heavy industry sector. A real-time analysis of sensor data from installed compressors located on client sites provided a true picture of faults occurring. The resulting automated, predictive maintenance cycle also enabled the firm to offer a new product – air-as-a-service – and create a new business model.

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Helen Beckett

Author: Helen Beckett

Helen Beckett is the Community Manager of the Business Value Exchange. She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years and takes a particular interest in the challenges facing the CIO in today’s business climate.