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How to respond to Digital Disruptions?

Congratulations! You just received your first torpedo to your flank and now your well established “incumbent” enterprise is in chaos from the shockwave it sent through all your ranks. You may even see some flooding that will soon grow into a threat to your business floating above the surface.

No … we are mocking you or being crazy here! 

If your organization has not yet started nor completed the needed “dual digital transformation” to become both  “Digitized” and “Digitalized” among the rising number of “Digital Native” market disruptors that have been popping up everywhere over the past 15 years, then this was only inevitable, and your luck had somehow manage to bring you this far … but no further.

We may not have control on the external elements and the disruptions they can bring us, but we have control on how to choose to respond to them and more than ever before, it is now the most critical time to do so properly. 

It is now the golden opportunity to leverage the full-awareness that this shockwave created, to ensure no one in the executive leadership is still day-dreaming through an assumption of organizational invincibility.

In order to establish a living and breathing framework that will not only help our “just disrupted” organization to navigate through other upcoming torpedoes, but will also arm it with its own disruptors, we can benefit from the combined power of the following  technics:

Watching other torpedoed ships.

If there are other businesses that got hit before us, and seem to still be afloat, we may want to observe how they responded and how the response worked for them. This does not have to be done just when we are hit but can become an ongoing practice of learning from the trials and errors and success stories of others in the market.

This approach should be taken in parallel to our other responses so we would not delay our come-back and miss market share accordingly. Some past examples of this could be Walmart watching Amazon for too long while it was eating away a big piece of their market share, before they realized the absolute need to start their own digital transformation journey.

Form up a fleet to aggregate your response.

In some other cases, your organization is in the right arena but is missing enough fire power to stand alone against the digital disruptors. In such cases, the best approach is to negotiate your way into forming alliances with other incumbents as co-competitors, to use your newly formed aggregate power to muster a proper response.

We all saw how hotels groups in tourism industry formed new alliances to go against Airbnb their aggregate power of share pools of resources, cross-group bundled discount offers and their existing, combined market influence.

In some other cases, acquiring a digital disruptor with similar abilities and leveraging their niche position to stage a response is a good approach. Many incumbents have been doing that not just to respond back but to be proactive against competitions forming up for an attack against their market positions. This has been accelerating across all large players, even those who are already considered high-tech and would be expected to handle their own weight in a digitally disrupted market.

Respond back with all you – currently – have!

As you are looking for successful comeback stories in the market, stage your own response with all your power of business and technology. Try to fast track a similar product or service or move funds around to drop the price on the product that is under attack, or take legal action were applicable.

We have seen price-matching and offer-perking-up as some of the most common, yet basic responses in this approach.

Respond back with a different response!

There are cases where your organization is simply not ready to stage a definitive response in the same way it was disrupted in market. In such scenarios your organization should look for other opportunities in the same or different markets and pursue customers and sources of demand through new operating model and value propositions.

Even though this may not initially look like a response back on the received disruption, it will not only pull the organization away from a losing battle, what would bring its might in an area where it stands strong as a new disruptor of its own.

Nintendo sought new customers when it moved away from the battlefield facing Xbox and Sony PS series and established itself in a family console gaming.

Ramp up your Digital Transformation journey

It is vital to push forwards with the enterprise digital transformation alongside the response approaches that we select in the disruption battels that is happening. The faster our organization is brought up to the level of business and technical agility and compatibility to our digital society and market structure, the better we can dodge or even weather the next torpedo impact and respond with proper power and precision.

A digital enterprise benefits from an ever increasing power of AI-based insights and analytics to create predictive views of market trends and to prescribe paths for its value streams to follow and meet the changed market demand on its arrival time and location.

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 Arman Kamran

About author

Arman Kamran is an internationally recognized executive leader and enterprise transition coach in Scaled Agile Delivery of Customer-Centric Digital Products with over 20 years of experience in leading teams in private (Fortune 500) and public sectors in delivery of over $1 billion worth of solutions, through cultivating, coaching and training their in-house expertise on Lean/Agile/DevOps practices, leading them through their enterprise transformation, and raising the quality and predictability of their Product Delivery Pipelines.

Arman also serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Prima Recon Machine Intelligence, a global AI solutions software powerhouse with operations in US (Palo Alto, Silicon Valley), Canada (Toronto) and UK (Glasgow).

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