Industry

Digital disruption has transformed: The rise of incumbents

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Recently, IBM conducted a massive study of hundreds of C-suite executives across the world. We weren’t certain what we would find. Would leaders of large firms fear that the next Uber or Airbnb would reshape their industry? Were incumbents struggling to keep pace?

After seeing the results of the study, I can confidently answer this question: no.

Only 26 percent of responding executives suspected new competition would disrupt their industry. For context, that number was 54 percent in 2015.

What changed? Innovation hasn’t slowed. Technologies such as blockchain, AI and cloud are still transforming the business landscape. The study found that the group that is winning in this new environment is a savvy group of incumbent innovators we like to call the “reinventors.”

Here’s what we can learn from these firms:

  • Reinventors fix things that aren’t broken. The age of digital disruption taught the remaining businesses a great deal. They learned that often the reason a company needs to acquire a new business or adjust to competition is because they weren’t moving fast enough on their own. Reinventors look for the next inflection point while things are still going well. They disrupt themselves.

Example: Walmart is working with IBM to build an API-driven platform to provide its developers with a self-service portal that supports faster development and helps the business deliver new services and improvements. This enables Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, to deliver developer resources to its team 100 times faster. Read the full study. How is your team willing to disrupt successful parts of its own business?

  • Reinventors focus on customer experience. Study respondents disagreed on a great deal, but one thing they agreed on is the shifting importance of customer experience. Rather than obsessing over the competition, reinventors use data to find out what customers want and then provide it before customers even ask for it.

Example: To improve the customer experience for more than 60 million customers, Mike Gamble, director of operations at Barclays, wanted to transform the bank’s processes around customer journeys.

Barclays adopted an IBM business process management (BPM) solution to create an environment for multiple iterations and accelerate process rollout. IBM helped the bank roll out customer processes 88 percent faster, and it increased its customer satisfaction around automated, multichannel services from a negative Net Promoter Score (NPS) to an NPS of 70. Read the full case study.

How can your firm use new technologies to create a better experience for customers?

  • Reinventors build a business around a platform. In the early days of digital disruption, corporations were often caught off guard by how smaller organizations were using data. This has changed, however, as businesses are learning to use their vast array of physical resources to gather data and build a powerful digital platform. This allows incumbents to use their size and history as a powerful advantage.

Example: Verizon worked with IBM to create its cognitive customer experience platform. This platform includes continuous ingestion of several data sources, high performance analytical micro-services and decision engines, with real-time scoring of customer interactions. The software stack helps Verizon to use the power of AI and data to unlock the full power of its incumbent position. Read the full case study. What information does your business have access to that your competitors do not?

Hopefully, you found these insights applicable to your own business. If you want to learn more, read the full CXO study. We’d love to help your business become a reinventor.

To learn more about the tools IBM provided the companies shared here, visit the IBM Cloud Integration website.

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