It is widely accepted that both emerging and established economies will continue to be shaped by disruptive forces of technology, including the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics and digitalisation. These forces have already begun to revolutionise systems, processes and procedures and radically transform lives – it is up to businesses whether they want to leverage the opportunity or not.
Bennie Strydom, chief sales officer at Integr8, points to research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), which states that by 2025 2-billion to 3-billion more people will access the Internet, while the potential economic impact of automated knowledge work is expected to be $5-trillion to $7-trillion.
“Statistics like this remind us that we are operating in an ever-changing and fast moving business environment,” he says. “It is evolving and businesses have to adapt by digitising all resources, automating workflows and integrating trends to reinforce operations. The question is not whether or not to leverage trends like the Internet of everything and big data, it is simply a matter of having to do it to survive.”
In addition to having the ability to transform systems and modernise the workplace, and also assume more control over infrastructure on an unprecedented level, businesses in emerging markets now have significantly more insight into their environments – thanks to analytics.
“We’re talking about a new kind of business intelligence … we’re working off smarter technology that is interlinked, interconnected, so that critical data is effectively stored, easily accessed and utilised immediately to add value to the business decision making process,” Strydom adds.
“Businesses in emerging markets especially have not had this benefit and not really enjoyed access to this volume of resources. The ability to make more informed business decisions, to adjust and tweak products and services to suit market requirements instantly is having an profound impact on local economies, across a wide spectrum of industries and sectors,” he says.
MGI research speaks about various technologies and their ability to disrupt – to be iconic and differentiate powerfully. This is the heart of what is behind innovation today – it is about creating the extraordinary to help organisations and businesses do more with less, to compete on any level and against any rivals, irrespective of size.
“This is what makes innovation and disruptive technology so enticing,” says Strydom.
“It is not only about the new and about the exciting or unique – those are certainly qualities that the market looks out for, sure, but is absolutely about performance, about long term solutions and long term value add. It is about setting a standard, about being a brand example – that is what the market wants, that is what people follow.”
The Internet could be argued to be one of the most disruptive forces we have today – its impact is still being felt today, on many levels and in many different ways, Strydom says.
Businesses are beginning to tune into the advantages and ripple effects that online presence, effective communication and internetworking offers.
“It is no longer about people-to-people, it is about machine-to-machine and this is why the Internet of Things” makes sense.
“Many ICT strategies today take cognisance of the cloud, of mobility and of the Internet of Things. A lot of decision makers leverage these trends to exert their influence on a wide audience, instantaneously. They network and engage with their market on a far more wider basis and more frequently. There is talk of a ‘we economy’ and of expanding the business frontier further and deeper than ever before. With disruptive technology, this is both possible and expected,” he adds.
In a data-driven, digital economy the ability of any business to use technology to be agile, to be first and to serve the customer with impact and lasting quality will ensure that it not only survives; it becomes the natural leader.