“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.”
What is a “Disruptive Technology”?
A term popularized by American economist Clayton Christensen in 1997, it’s essentially a technology so grand that it revolutionizes an existing market, or creates a new one. Disruptive technologies challenge larger companies to adapt to trends or risk becoming irrelevant.
Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he created a massive disruption in the transportation industry at the time – carriages and horses – by allowing the middle-class access to the Model T.
You’re holding disruptive technology in your hands right now, if you’re reading this though a smartphone. Having any access to this article means we’re connected by one of the greatest examples of disruptive technology – the internet.
And through the power of the internet, companies and innovative practices are continuing to break the traditional mould. This is a good thing for small and medium sized businesses, because it won’t allow big companies to maintain the status quo.
Two Major Gains for Local Businesses
Cloud technology has provided a massive cost-reduction and location flexibility to Entrepreneurs constantly on the move. By simply exchanging an email address, files of various sizes can be shared with co-workers in real-time, without having to send discs or flash drives by mail.
It’s become easier than ever to manage businesses and collaborate on projects. We can do our work from the comfort of our home or at a nearby café.
Automation is a process removing the necessity for someone to do repetitive tasks. By programming a computer to automate repetitive processes, it frees up more time for us to do more creative and complex tasks – the things that can’t be automated. For those on a tight budget and timeline, automation is a game-changer.
Some automation tools can fill out expense reports, manage our social media, and help us run more successful marketing campaigns. The more we can automate tasks we don’t want to do, the more time we’ll have for things we want to be doing.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, one thing remains constant – businesses won’t profit if they can’t meet customer demands. Companies will come out on top if they can remove common customer pain points, provide excellent customer service, and enhance the quality of their offerings while keeping prices low.
And with developments like cloud technology and automation, local businesses have been able to keep up with larger corporations.
When disruption occurs, it’s often with a big kick in the face to the big guys. That’s because well-established companies are unlikely to invest in or adopt disruptive technologies themselves.
Local businesses can stand to benefit from this inflexibility. But it’s important to adopt such technologies as early as possible, so the benefits can be seen sooner than later.
Seeing as how technology creates exponential growth, world-changing disruptions will continue to be introduced at an increasingly rapid pace.
If local businesses can stay on their toes and be open and responsive to disruption, they will continue to have a competitive edge in the markets of tomorrow.