The Warning Signs Of Digital Disruption

Stephanie Reshel

Digital technology is changing the game for multiple businesses and entire industries these days. Technology is disrupting the old ways of doing business with customers, as well as altering business interactions with suppliers, partners, and even employees.

Disruptive forces

What’s causing this disruption? IBM’s recent Global C-suite Study shows that executives believe technology and market factors are the biggest external forces transforming the competitive landscape in many industries. It also states that regulatory concerns, macro-economic factors, and people skills are playing a role in the changing business environment.

The warning signs of digital disruption 

How do you know when your industry is at risk of digital disruption? Do you ever wonder if your company is about to be “Ubered”? Information from the IBM study warns business leaders to watch for the following signs that could indicate your industry might be the next target for a digital transformation:

  • Venture capitalists are increasingly interested in companies related to your sector
  • Technology is used to cut costs rather than to improve or innovate customer experiences
  • Your industry has an aging customer base with few new customers
  • Your industry uses hands-on customer service with few digital touch-points
  • Customer satisfaction is low in your industry

Prepare for digital disruption

In today’s rapidly changing environment, new competitors with completely different business models are often invisible until it’s too late. Despite the unpredictability of digital disruption, the study identifies three key ways to get ready for the next level of competition:

  1. Prepare for digital invaders – Be aware of the warning signs listed above and recognize where your industry stands on the digital spectrum
  1. Create a panoramic perspective – Listen to your customers and business partners and look for perspectives beyond your industry
  1. Be first, be best, or be nowhere – Identify and understand your company’s position when it comes to digital transformation

Where do you stand on digital disruption?

As a business leader, you need to make decisions for the future of your business based on the factors mentioned above. Will you fully embrace digital technology and become a disruptor in your industry; partially embrace technology where it works for your business; or simply maintain the status quo and see how everything plays out? The choice is yours.

Want some direction? Watch this video to see what some technology leaders are doing to help businesses on the path to digital transformation. 

Discover some of the latest developments in digital transformation from SAP and IBM on

Read more about SAP and IBM’s path to digital transformation

Find out how more than 5000 executives across multiple industries in more than 70 countries feel about the changing competitive landscape in IBM’s report, Redefining Boundaries: Insights from the Global C-suite Study.

For an in-depth look at how the digital era is changing the business landscape, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

To learn more about the driving forces behind digital disruption, download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

Just starting your digital journey? Learn 5 key components to B2B digital commerce success.

Take a closer look at one industry in the midst of digital transformation. Download the SAP eBook, Connected Care: The Digital Pulse of Global Healthcare.

Stephanie Reshel

About Stephanie Reshel

Stephanie Reshel is senior director for Strategic Ecosystem Marketing at SAP. She drives joint marketing strategies globally with the top strategic services partners. Follow her on @SReshel.