C-Suite see Disruption as the ‘New Normal’

Senior executives feel the impact of digital disruption

In a recent report published by leading IT provider Fujitsu, 98% of executives stated that their business had been disrupted by digital. The report surveyed 1,200 C-Suite decision makers across nine countries to conclude that, whilst there are national variations, the vast majority of participants believe they need to evolve in order to thrive in a digital world. Progress has undoubtedly been made, but accepting change is just part of a wider process which will force all businesses to constantly reevaluate the way they operate. Now that disruption is the new normal, businesses need to formulate a game plan, and fast.

How has digital disrupted business?
There’s been a clear shift in mindset when it comes to accepting digital disruption. In fact, nine out of ten C-suite decision makers say that digital has disrupted their business, and only 2% of executives claimed that they had remained unaffected. The ongoing digital takeover is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. Cybersecurity breaches and hacking scandals have become more of a promise than a threat, and several high profile attacks in the last few years have demonstrated just how important it is to protect online information. As well as this, customers are now demanding quality online services. If the expansion of digital is anything to go by, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by corporates. As much as it may bring daunting challenges, no less than 81% of respondents viewed it as positive. The growing scope and demand for digital has fundamentally changed the way that businesses deal with disruption. It’s no longer something that simply happens to companies – it’s a board level strategy. But how can businesses successfully navigate the digital revolution, and use disruption to their benefit?

How should businesses respond?
Businesses across the globe may have accepted the existence and importance of digital disruption, but this is useless if they can’t formulate a relevant response. First of all, they should continue to recognise disruption in the boardroom, and see it as a useful business model as well as an unavoidable challenge. The most successful companies don’t just know how to cope with disruption. . . they know how to cause it, too. Investing in the development of new technology has emerged as an important strategy, with two thirds of executives viewing it as vital to digital success. Fuelling innovation can be done internally via research, but also externally through co-creation. This collaborative approach involves committing to a policy of open innovation and setting up rewarding partnerships – and not just with other businesses, either. Universities and governmental organisations can also provide key resources. This can include physical space, materials, contacts, expertise and personnel. Finding the right talent is also vital, especially for leadership positions. Elon Musk is one of the most disruptive personalities in business, and it isn’t a coincidence that his company Tesla Motors just became the most valuable U.S. automaker, though it is yet to turn a profit. Confidence in new strategies is generally high, which bodes well for an innovative future. However, 20% of the C-Suite decision makers surveyed by Fujitsu are still worried about the impact of digital disruption. As co-creation, partnerships and technological investment begin to pay off, confidence will grow.

Fujitsu’s report has highlighted that businesses across the globe are finally beginning to accept the reality of disruption. . . but this is only the first step. Now, businesses need to work out how to navigate the impact of digital. They can do this in a number of ways, such as investing in technology, forging partnerships, encouraging co-creation and accumulating talent. Despite some uncertainty, the majority of surveyed decision makers are ready and willing to make adjustments. But perhaps more importantly, they are confident of future success. Now that disruption has become the new normal, this is just as well.

How has digital disrupted your business? Does your business use open innovation? How else might companies respond to increasing demand for digital? Share your thoughts and experiences.