The Power of Disruptive Technology.
The Power of Disruptive Technology: AI is Transferring the Way We Do Business
What is Disruptive Technology? And how does it impact you as a business owner, executive, or consultant?
“Disruptive technology” is an established element of the business world. Many entrepreneurs and executives praise it. However, the word “disruptive” makes some people cautious. They find an anomaly between the need for certainty in business and the effects of disruption.
In this context, those who have introduced disruptive technology successfully regard disruption as good. One of the most notable examples is e-commerce. The use of computers and mobile devices to buy goods and services from around the world has radically changed traditional retailing. E-commerce has disrupted the dominance of the brick-and-mortar approach to sales. As a result, many entrepreneurs have built new enterprises and made money on the basis of e-commerce.
Thus, disruptive technology at its best is a natural part of business development. E-commerce, for example, is providing opportunities for businesses by opening markets they would never have previously been able to access. Such disruptive technology only works well, though, if entrepreneurs are open-minded about its possibilities. Take the example of e-commerce again: New markets have certainly developed but many traditional retailers have struggled to maintain the viability of their businesses.
Further opportunities and concerns about disruptive technology are apparent with the rise of machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning, for instance, is disrupting the traditional method of information gathering and forecasting in fields such as finance. Advanced software can process vast amounts of data to make business predictions. But this process risks using the data of people and companies inappropriately. In these instances, disruptive technology is upsetting the right to privacy and the need for security.
Another key element of disruptive technology is its cost. Entrepreneurs may see the opportunities that a new disruptive technological development presents. But are the costs acceptable? And do entrepreneurs have the budgets to introduce the technology? It is important, of course, to be positive about exciting opportunities. With disruptive technology, though, it can be better to wait until the technology matures. Alternatively, you could introduce it into your business in a revised version.
Also, disruptive technology is not necessarily efficient. Your current business model may not require a disruptive technology. The other side of this argument, though, poses a question: Can you afford to disregard a disruptive technology when your competitors could be considering it? In this situation, you may have to review and adapt your business model to allow for disruptive technology.
In sum, disruptive technology can revolutionize business operations. But it must do so with a clear purpose; namely, to benefit you, your business, and your customers. Disruptive technology that fails to account for these aims can result in a loss of money and trust. As with any other business development, you need to weigh the pros and cons of such technology with care.
Who’s defining the AI landscape and are they correct? The largest roadblock in conducting informed discussions and planning around AI is, in many cases, due to its ubiquity.
How Artificial Intelligence will Transform Your Business.
The pace of innovation in information technology has been accelerating so quickly since the late 1980s that it can be hard to keep up with the latest developments. Executives take it for granted today that constant internet access and high-speed processing of big data offer them insight and control in ways that were impossible only twenty years ago. In fact, some businesses today would simply be unimaginable twenty years ago. Foundational technologies like smartphones and broadband internet have allowed creation and transformation on an unprecedented scale.
With those examples right in front of them, it’s somewhat perplexing that more companies are not preparing themselves for the even more consequential changes coming with the next wave of innovation. Artificial Intelligence is a phenomenon that is prominent in headlines and marketing boilerplate today, and yet one that remains strangely absent from strategy and planning discussions among managers at all levels and in companies of all sizes.
That’s an unfortunate disadvantage for those businesses because for both the prepared and the unprepared, artificial intelligence is poised to dramatically alter the business landscape in every industry. As with other foundational technologies, it may well completely upend certain markets completely, tipping them into irrelevance, while it simultaneously creates entirely new and previously unimagined opportunities elsewhere.
Forecasting the Inevitable is Harder Than it Looks.
The concept of artificial intelligence is one that is assumed to be broadly understood, but one in which the specifics generally elude many executives. This combination of holding a general awareness of the technology while simultaneously being unequipped to discuss it has led to a considerable blind spot in many businesses about the potential pitfalls and advantages they will experience as AI deployment accelerates.
The concept also suffers from the blind men and the elephant syndrome (i.e., the ancient Indian parable). AI, much like the subjective experiences of the blind men describing their first experience with an elephant, has tripped into the public conversation while skipping over the definitional period in which it comes to represent the same concepts in the minds of everyone discussing it. In this way, it threatens to take on a similar mien to the term “cloud computing” which quickly became a catch-all phrase for a vast array of very different techniques.
Because it’s difficult to pin down exactly what people mean when they discuss AI, the lines around where it is already coming into use in the business community are blurry. That it is coming into such use, however, is indisputable. Whether you believe that rudimentary task automation, such as automated database recognition and ingestion of previously uncategorized, but structured, data, represent the cutting edge of AI or whether it’s only more advanced deployments, like real-time, machine-learning-driven sales funnel optimizations, they are already in play in companies in almost every industry.
And it’s not just major companies. In many ways, the AI revolution is working hardest in smaller businesses that are choosing to stay small and to invest in technology rather than headcount.