Too much innovation creates disruption: how do we harness the potential?

We live in a hyper-connected world, and we’re sharing information and collaborating on an entirely new scale. Millions of smartphones are sold every day. In a single minute online, we send more than 200 million emails, share 2.4 million pieces of content on Facebook, and perform 4 million searches on Google. There are more than 1.3 billion websites out there.

Angel investors, crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing are sparking a rich start-up culture. It has never been easier to realize a good idea. This level of collaboration, and the sophistication of connectivity is casting everyone as an innovator. We are enjoying a period of deep technology innovation right now, but it comes at a cost.

When the land line phone first arrived, it took 80 years to reach mass adoption. The mobile phone has reached the same point in a quarter of that time. If we look back just 20 years into the past, we can see that transformative technology was evolving every five to ten years. That pace has really picked up. Changes are occurring every two to three years now, and they’re having a disruptive impact on all kinds of industries.

The problem with disruption

It takes time for organizations to understand new technology. Fast-paced innovation creates complexity. Implementations are inconsistent as businesses struggle to leverage the potential benefits. There are lots of attractive possibilities, but the sheer pace is preventing companies from consuming and digesting innovations. There’s no time to work out how a piece of technology can be used for differentiation in the marketplace. How is it matured and made palatable for customers?

In trying to identify the best of trends like mobility, the cloud, security, and virtualization, most companies have quickly taken on many different partners. Trying to integrate everything into a coherent ecosystem is a major challenge. Does it make sense to dramatically increase the size of your organization to deal with these integration points? Or can we learn from the disruptive patterns and find a way to reduce complexity and mature our offerings?

Future-proofing your organization

Cost savings are not the only reason for migrating to the cloud – it’s also a route to shifting problematic integration points off-premise. Gartner predicts that organizations will outsource 75% of services by 2025, up from around 50% today. The path to compete and differentiate your business does not lead to a single partner. To get the best emerging technologies, you have to shop around. You have to pick and choose. The best system might involve a service desk from one provider, a desktop from another, and virtualization from a third.

The future is cloud aggregators, capable of bringing your services together, providing standardization and an integration framework. That’s why we’re starting to see things like Service Integration and Management (SIAM) in the enterprise and Citrix enterprise mobility management (EMM). Companies need a way of harnessing the value that’s being driven by all these innovations.

A cloud marketplace with a truly standardized framework will enable companies to pull in all the different components they need to make their business work. In five years’ time, a company could put together a compilation from 50 different providers to find the right business outcome. Services will be rated by how effective and robust they are, and buyers will choose different levels according to their budgets.

Driving us all forward

The age of deep technology innovation is far from over, we’re just starting to learn how to take control and not be overwhelmed. As we move toward more automation, and we get smarter about how we leverage our technology, the speed of innovation will accelerate further. The barriers to realizing great ideas will continue to fall away.

McKinsey & Company puts the global online population at 2.7 billion people in 2014, 1.8 billion of them had come online since 2004. It predicts an additional 500 to 900 million people will come online by 2017, and that still leaves more than 4 billion offline.

Collaboration on this scale is changing everything. How much further can living standards and life expectancy rise? The limits of our technological innovation are not clear. But if we can tackle disruption and solve integration pain, then we’re laying the foundations for future success in the business world and beyond.

About the Author

Nicholas Lee is Head of Global Offerings, EUS Managed Infrastructure Services for Fujitsu, the leading Japanese information and communication technology company. Approximately 162,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. You can reach him at Nicholas.Lee@us.fujitsu.com.

Future-proofing Your Business and the Cost of Innovation

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