How Fortune 500 incumbents can become the new market disrupters

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According to the 2018 IBM Global C-suite Study, the rules around market disruption have changed. Until recently, small startups and industry outsiders were widely considered the primary drivers of innovation. However, the results of the IBM C-suite Study clearly show that today, this role is more commonly filled by large, established companies.

This shift creates both an opportunity and a challenge for these industry incumbents: many of their peers have already learned how to be the disruptors in their industries, and now the possibility exists for these incumbents to do the same. Disruptive innovation requires businesses to act, think, create and engage differently. And in a business world measured by the tweet, companies that don’t take the proper steps will risk falling hopelessly behind.

Grow smarter, faster and more cost-efficiently by taking three critical actions

In order to transform for success in the digital era, there are several core steps an organization must execute against. Three of these actions were echoed at the IBM CEO Big Bet session:

1. Take out structural costs to increase competitiveness and fund investment in growth.
2. Transform enterprise processes and systems to enable growth and competitiveness.
3. Innovate and use data as a basis for new growth.

Taking out structural costs
For incumbents to capitalize on new opportunities, transform their processes and become the disrupters, they must have funding available when opportunities arise.

By modernizing existing technology, incumbents can take out structural costs, freeing up resources to invest in growth. As a first step, many incumbents who use Oracle solutions are being assisted by IBM to move out of their data center(s), migrate to a flexible Oracle Cloud IT platform, and transform to an SLA-based delivery model. We do this through our premier offerings for Oracle ERP and HCM on Cloud.

In addition to cost savings, the Oracle Cloud solutions also provide operational improvements and financial flexibility. Firms can then experience improved availability, security, performance and reliability of their IT operations. From a financial flexibility perspective, these incumbents transform their balance sheet by shifting their expense profile from CapEx to OpEx, giving them the liquidity they need to grow.

Taken together, these benefits enable incumbents to pursue new ventures, partnerships and alliances, reimagine how they interact with customers and reshape their industry. Incumbents can also pivot and change quickly with Oracle Cloud solutions by removing high up-front internal costs, system complexities and system constraints.

Transforming processes
After incumbents have removed structural costs, they are free to transform internal and external processes. Then these firms can harness the power of cognitive computing, robotics and automation to change the way they interact with employees, vendors and customers.

They can pursue new opportunities such as digitizing and creating a touchless financial close process, deploying a self-healing/self-learning application management service, or implementing customer and vendor solutions that create authentic individual experiences using virtual agents. Building and deploying Oracle Cloud solutions gives the incumbents a flexible platform to quickly transform their business processes and enables them to become a disruptor by capitalizing on changes in the market.

Fueling new growth with data
Finally, incumbents have years of proprietary data that can be used to create a competitive advantage. Unlocking this data with new Oracle Cloud solutions creates the opportunity for incumbents to deeply understand their customers on an individual basis, see the trends of their market before the competition does, imagine new ways of conducting business and introduce new services on an industry basis.

This private incumbent data — when paired with a new Oracle Cloud architecture, business processes and greater free cash flow — can give incumbents a newfound competitive advantage. By pulling business insights from their data, incumbents can make evidence-based decisions about how to personalize interactions with customers, identify which growth opportunities are most promising to invest in, and prioritize these opportunities based on facts not available to new entrants or the market. Essentially, incumbents are now in a position to reimagine and redefine how a market can be served.

Learn more

The actions described in this post build on each other to help organizations succeed and grow in a world where industry incumbents driving disruption is increasingly the norm.

IBM is one of the world’s largest Oracle partners. Our expertise across systems integration, application management, software and infrastructure is unparalleled. IBM is helping incumbents deploy Oracle Cloud solutions — pairing them with proprietary IBM assets when appropriate — to become the new disrupters.

As the first step, the IBM Oracle Cloud Impact Assessment can help you determine the optimal path forward to becoming a disrupter. Sign up today to find out how the assessment can help you on your journey. Learn more about the IBM and Oracle partnership at

Schedule your assessment

Partner, North America Oracle Service Line, Growth Initiative Leader

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