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Digital Disruption and Business Process Management

by David Mainville on

Digital Disruption is perhaps one of the most significant challenges facing businesses. Business Process Management is a powerful tool that can help companies defend themselves from this disruption and even become disruptors.

Change has become the normal state for today's businesses. Rapid technological change, globalization, statutory changes, and other factors put companies in constant flux.

One of the biggest challenges in this changing world comes from Digital Disruption, which your existing competition, and event startups, can introduce to the market.

What is Digital Disruption? 

Digital disruption is using digital technologies to fundamentally change how people interact with markets, products, and services. A Digital Disruption can have significant cultural and societal implications, some not even foreseen by the disruptor.  

Check out Gartner's definition of Digital Disruption.  

There are many examples of Digital Transformation; here are a few.   

  • Social media has changed how people share or consume knowledge.   
  • The smartphone has affected multiple industries, including photography, communications, entertainment, gaming, health, and fitness. 
  • Online services like Amazon, Uber, and Air BnB have disrupted the retail, lodging, and transportation industries. 

Many of these disruptions are societal. There are young people today who have never used a landline, never sent a fax, dealt with a teller at a bank, or adjusted a TV antenna to watch a program.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

How Does Digital Disruption Impact Businesses?

One of the basic principles of Digital Disruption is that it catches the incumbent businesses off guard. Incumbents either fail to see the impending change or see it but refuse to believe it will affect them. 

Before they realize it, they can be facing insurmountable competition.  

Kodak was a prime example. Did you know they invented the digital camera? They shelved it because some executives couldn't see a future without film.  

Some companies adjust and change direction to be competitive. Others, like Kodak, are a shell of their former selves.  

Which company do you want to be?

Innovation Drives Disruption

You can innovate without being disruptive, but you can't disrupt without being innovative. 

The original iPhone was a disruptive piece of technology. Yes, there were smartphones before Apple, but nobody brought together the combination of features and useability that Apple did, especially the concept of an App Store. Their vision of the smartphone changed everything.

Since then, Apple has used innovation to drive continuous improvement of their phone, with each version being better but not disruptive.

Apple had the foresight to innovate on existing technologies to create something transformative.

BPM Brings Innovation and Transformation Agility

When faced with significant pressure to change, some see business process management (BPM) as too much effort, but this is when BPM can bring value.

BPM is not a "one-time" effort but a cycle of; discovery, modeling, management, optimization, and automation. 

This continuous cycle opens the door to process innovation and even digital disruption. 

Here are three things to consider as part of your BPM program.

  1. Process optimization and automation may not bring disruption, but better processes will make you more productive, competitive, and profitable. 
  2. What you learn through Business Process Management and continuous process innovation may bring about the next significant digital disruption.
  3. In this world of rapid change, it's essential to quickly adapt your Processes using every opportunity to streamline, automate and improve customer experience. 
  4. Understand your process dependencies. BPM is not about single processes functioning in isolation. Be aware of how changes to one process may affect another. 

Digital Disruption has significantly changed how people interact with markets, products, and services. It has created entirely new markets and brought about the fall of industry-leading companies. BPM is one tool that can help you innovate and stay ahead of the pack.
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