Every once in a while, the market experiences the birth of what is frequently described as "disruptive technology" or "disruptive innovation". Classic examples of companies and products that created disruptiveness in their respective industries are Powersoft with PowerBuilder, a highly disruptive technology that helped change the way developers rapidly built windows based client server applications. Another good example we are all familiar with is Netscape, especially the way they popularized the download model of software. Of course, these disruptive technologies not only help define and establish new markets, they also have well established challengers that respond when awakened and leverage their might in the industry to do whatever is possible to put the brakes on the innovators. Furthermore, disruptive innovators are usually born out of the "garage" with entrepreneurs backed by early stage investors (private and venture capitalists). These investors also are instrumental in getting the disruptors seasoned executives that have terrific track records of success.
For every new disruptive technology comes a set of early adopters who have the vision and belief that being an early adopter of disruptive technology will deliver a set of compelling advantages for their enterprise. These advantages come in the form of total cost of ownership benefits, a stronger competitive offering and a reduction in time to market for products. These early adopters are risk takers, and typically see what others may not see. They quickly become “champions” or “evangelists” for the disruptive innovators internally and externally. Disruptive innovators rely on these champions to help build momentum in the industry. Finally, these champions are also poised to receive strong recognition internally when the disruptive technology becomes a success internally and in the market. These are the visionaries who get the job done in the face of resistance from non believers. How many times did you hear someone say “You’ll never do banking over the internet” or “Hosted CRM systems accessible via the Web?? it will never happen”.
Lately, I’ve seen a analytics company that is gaining strong momentum in the business intelligence space that I believe falls into the disruptive category. The company is Qliktech who has worked very hard to deliver a very advanced analytics solution that truly exploits the capabilities of 64-bit architectures. This solution also allows one to bypass the sometimes complex OLAP approach to analytics by using an in memory approach for handling large scale analytic data. I particularly like their RAD approach to analytics and its ability to support both a thin (
Over the course of the next few months via this blog, I will be talking about some of the disruptive innovators that I believe will get strong traction over the next few years. Of course, along the way, they will face challenges from the companies they are trying to disrupt. Success is never guaranteed, especially when your competitor wakes up.