Incumbents Identify Potential Disruptors from Their Own Sector and Beyond

One in six CIOs and their peers in the boardroom have no clue about where disruption will come from, although experience shows an ambush is often sprung from an unexpected quarter. Evidence of this blind spot comes from KPMG research and also a scan of disruptive landscapes in FinTech and hospitality: brand new, digitally enabled operators that are able to scale fast and cater for market niches are likely competitors to incumbents.

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Help is on hand, however, and Ron Brown, Chief Technologist at Enterprise Services EMEA, met up with me at Discover London to discuss a development that is helping clients identify and anticipate potential disruptors. As we talked, a queue of show delegates experimented with the augmented reality tool, XTech, which enables customers to make a virtual journey into a disruptive landscape.

Ron explained why Enterprise Services has invested in the development of XTech: “Customers are overwhelmed by the fact that a disruption to revenue stream is hitting – or could hit – them and are completely blindsided”, he said. Conversations with customers who use XTech as a tool to help anticipate disruption general prove to be ‘interesting’ Ron confirmed. “Some are surprised and alarmed by the results, others find it a validation of a hunch”.

XTech is a simple yet graphic aid to business conversation. Consisting of a standard web interface into Digital Explorer and a Microsoft HoloLens representation of modelled disruption, the tool provides an augmented reality view as a 3D image floating is space in front of the user. The customer wears a headset and uses gestures or voice commands to navigate the landscape.

All potential disruptors both inside and outside a particular sector are mapped by XTech to provide enterprises with a view of competition and disruption in the next three years. To date, XTech has been customized for 21 different industry sectors, so FinTech for finance, ManTech for manufacturing and so on. According to the maturity of a particular organization and whether it is an early or late adopter of digital, XTech also positions potential disruptors within their value chain, providing a sharper vision of the future.

However variable the XTech vision of a landscape proves to be, there is a common denominator across the different industry sectors. This is the numerous start-ups, which in the digital business world, can set up with zero assets and use consumable assets from Google or Amazon clouds. “Start-ups are popping up all over the place and bringing new business models into an industry. We’re finding examples in every industry,” confirms Ron.

And however variable the XTech vision that confronts individual customers, one other factor is assured – it is an agnostic vision. “We have made this customer centric and are not simply reverse engineering sales catalogue and presenting stuff in a new way”, says Ron. XTech positions all disruptors including the ones that ES currently has no answer to so it is a completely agnostic or unconstrained environment. “That is very much appreciated. It Gives us trusted advisor status and encourages an open conversation”.

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.