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Making sense of ICT evolution: From exponential technologies to disruptive innovations

Amit Midha, President, Dell Asia Pacific and Japan | April 28, 2015
This byline discusses the impact of exponential technologies and disruptive innovation on the workforce, and the measures organizations could undertake to embrace exponential innovation.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

For many years, IT leaders and analysts have spoken about the exponential growth of technological advances. From Moore's Law of 1965 which describes the doubling of computer processing speed every 18 months, to Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends Report which highlights the virtuous cycle of technological innovations, one thing remains consistent: the current pace of technological advancement is unprecedented in history and shows no signs of slowing down.

The exponential change in core digital technologies has catalyzed many disruptive innovations in the market today. As computing power, storage and bandwidth - the three core building blocks of digital technology - continue to improve, traditional concepts are redefined as a result of exponential innovation.

Impact of exponential technologies on supply and demand

The evolution of information technologies has overhauled the way products and services are conceived and delivered. From the retail to the media industries, businesses operating in traditional models have to evolve and embrace the rapid advances of core digital technologies in order to stay relevant.

Ten years ago, we saw how companies could thrive in their respective industries simply by creating unique products and delivering them to consumers. Businesses like Warner Music, Kodak and local DVD rental stores could succeed on a more straightforward business model. Today, companies like Spotify, Instagram and Netflix have almost completely replaced these businesses. These and other disruptive companies have achieved success by focusing their core competencies less on the product itself (in this case, the music, pictures and movies), and more on developing and deploying innovative platforms and services that deliver products more effectively, efficiently, and easily.  

The pressure to innovate

As disruptive companies begin to use technological advancements to transform business models and deliver products to customers in new ways, business leaders, regardless of industry, face pressure to be agents of change and drivers of innovation to meet the changing expectations of their stakeholders. 

However, one problem persists: while technology continues to develop, the ability of people and organizations to fully adopt new technologies have not kept pace. For example, security is a top concern for many organizations - according to Dell's Global Technological Adoption Index - and, due to its inherent complexity, creates barriers to the adoption of cloud, big data, and mobility, which inhibits overall innovation. This growing gap between exponential change in technologies and the rate at which an organization is able to respond and continuously improve offers an opportunity for businesses to re-think their business models and embrace change.

In addition to innovations in products and services that may unleash new revenue streams, businesses can also think about innovation in the workplace to improve workforce productivity to enhance employee effectiveness - and reduce costs. One example is through work environment redesign, by adopting secure cloud and mobile technologies to give employees access to information from anywhere and on any device, enabling employees to get more work done more efficiently - without jeopardizing data security.  The culture of innovation should not merely stop at incremental changes in products or services, but can extend to the creation of new and improved organizational processes and behaviors engineered to enhance business performance.


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