Disruption in the Eye of the Beholder

April 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

By Darrell Schrag

You don’t have to go very far in the business world these days without running across the concept of disruptors. As a company if you are not actively seeking ways to disrupt your industry you will be passed up quickly, so they say. And even more challenging is when the disruptor comes out of the blue from a company that you didn’t consider a competitor. The latest example of this that I just read about is how retailer Overstock.com is actively pursuing trading technologies based on Blockchain. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-17/overstock-wins-sec-s-nod-to-upend-how-companies-issue-shares.t0

Who in the financial services industry would have seen a retailer completely shaking up the status quo from out of the blue. Companies like this are making the news and are vaulting ahead of their industry if not new industries. We at IBM lead the Bluemix story with just this discussion. Bluemix provides that agile development platform that allows your developers to think of and deliver new solutions quickly.

But there is another type of disruption that must be dealt with before going to market with new ideas. That is the need to disrupt the status quo within the IT department. I have had numerous conversations with customers that understand this concept of disruption but at the same time are knee deep in the molasses of their existing development processes. They look around the room seeking a brave soul willing to stick their neck out to suggest a drastic change to the way they do development. Disrupting their industry requires disrupting their IT department.

Those organizations that are blazing this disruptive trail are the ones driven by a line-of-business leader that demands this disruptive ability from its IT leaders. Rare is the IT leader that is out in front of this by pursuing something like Bluemix ahead of the demands of the business leaders, but it does happen. Being in the IT business I usually spend much more time on the IT side of a customer’s house. But helping those IT leaders tie what they do back to the business drivers that keep the CEO up at night can help the success rate. The best part of my job is to get opportunities to challenge corporate leaders to be disruptive, both in their industry and within their development walls.

The speed of innovation is increasing every day. And this survival-of-the-fittest disruptive behavior will only get more and more commonplace. It is an exciting time to be in IT.

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