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Strategies to manage digital disruption


Many industries are being altered, even reinvented, by technology. To stay ahead, executives must change what they do.

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Customers and business leaders agree digital disruption is here to stay. The disruption affects customers, markets, industries, economies, value chains, and entire value systems. It also has an impact on business experience, engagement, marketing, distribution, operations, production, organization, collaboration, and partnering.

Ninety percent of business executives say their industries will see disruption by digital trends.¹

But many companies are failing to adapt fast enough to avoid the negative, and at times dire, impacts of disruption. A decade ago, strategy consultants solemnly advised executives to take a “business strategy first, enabling technology second” approach. Today however, technology is central to strategy. Indeed, technology has become strategy. In this environment, the underlying business question becomes different. Executives now ask what technologies are coming and how might they reshape industries. Generic single-issue, problem-solving approaches don’t suffice.

This report examines how the strategy process is being disrupted. It then puts forward a cyclical and holistic approach to strategy that we call Digital Reinvention®. It combines the strengths of partners and brings many new technologies such as cloud, Internet of Things, and social media into the framework. The report also includes four important factors to keep in mind when building or revising a strategy or hiring a strategy consultant.

¹ Buckley, Natasha, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, Gerald Kane. “Aligning the organization for its digital future.” MIT Sloan Management Review. July 2016. http://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/aligning-for-digital-future/

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Meet the authors:

Saul Berman, PhD

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, Vice President and Chief Strategist;
Philip Dalzell-Payne

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, Global Partner, IBM iX

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