Erupting disruptors: Why software is still eating the world
The world as we know it is ending! Well, in a less dramatic sense, things are evolving. Legacy-name companies serving as Fortune 500 poster children have fallen and are being quickly replaced by new faces. (FYI: 86% of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 have failed.) These new faces have the legacies trembling with fear because of their secret weapon––innovation. Paving the way for the little guys with big ideas, the future is here.
Disrupting the peace
There’s a term given to the little guys who upset the larger firms: disruptors. Coined by Marc Andreessen nearly five years ago in his article, Software is Eating the World, disruptors are really good at taking a bunch of different ideas and packaging them in a way that alters the way people do things. They are astute at incorporating successful, universal aspects of already existing technologies.
But how is it possible that the business structure has shifted seemingly overnight? It’s because of Digital Transformation Strategy (DTS). A seemingly generic term, DTS began with Andreessen’s head in the cloud - the cloud. Developing a platform based off of the timeliness of cloud technology, iPhone and App Store disrupting began to take form.
Let’s get digital
What does it take for Digital Transformation Strategy to take shape? Andreessen summed it up to timing. We’re living in an ideal “future-state” that has created a climate for disruptors. Jeetu Patel, author of Software is Still Eating the World adds: “What Uber and Airbnb — like Andreessen — understood about ‘software eating the world’ was that incredible innovations often emerge at just these moments when it looks like everything has been changed and we’ve reached the new normal.”
Patel takes into context the mindset of businesses coming to terms with how their core may be shaken due to inevitable technological changes.
Beyond timing, the second important factor is focus. Patel examines Uber by claiming that Uber’s focus is on their own assets. Uber’s most important asset? Experience. The “experience factor” focuses Uber’s mission on creating user experience rather than ownership of transportation vehicles. Summing up Uber’s success in focusing on their core, Patel explains: “At the practical level, when you look at the technology components of Uber’s world-renowned app, they decided to rely on other core platforms and technologies to power many of the key elements.”
Tech blogs and writers have written ad nauseam about Uber’s platform approach. We get it. The platform is/was/continues-to-be revolutionary. However, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it took a lot of connecting, of a lot of dots, to create the platform. (Of course there are other variables that go into the success of a product. Having a solid technology platform helps, but it doesn’t guarantee success.)
So ask yourself: What dots are you looking at?
As mentioned in the article, it doesn’t make sense for every company to strive to be a software business or disruptor. There would be no place for this function in every business. However, there exists an additional role for businesses and that’s where our team at Myriad Mobile comes in. Our role in this disrupting world is to act as a catalyst. This role is important for the growth of disruptors as a way to provide both the timeliness and focus needed. Having the the disruptor-assistance mindset, we at Team Myriad take into consideration these questions developed by Patel:
- Will the non-core service provide your application an innovation tailwind?
- Can the service be substituted by another supplier?
- Will the service provide a neutral to incremental experience improvement for your customers?
Asking these questions keep catalytic companies on the same page with the disruptors they aid.
This is the beginning
Perhaps the most important takeaway from Patel’s article is this concept: “The central question, therefore, is not whether every company will have to embark on some sort of digital transformation journey depending on their business, but rather how they will go about making it happen.”
Technology changes the business realm because it is constantly evolving and never finished. Andreesson’s Digital Transformation Strategy reiterates that point — and he wrote about it five years ago! (That’s a lifetime in the technology realm.) If your company is not looking at a digital transformation strategy in your industry, we have one question: Why not? There has never been a better time for innovation through solidly-built, already existing technology platforms.
Disruptors take note and find your catalyst, the future is here.
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