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Wednesday 16 December 2015

TechMarketView's Theme for 2016 - Surfing the Waves of Disruption

SurfingIn the introduction to TechMarketView’s Theme for 2016 – Surfing the Waves of Disruption, on Monday, Anthony Miller waxed lyrical saying “The waves of disruption are crashing against the shore. The smart surfer knows you have to ride them, control them, master them, use the force of the waves to set you in the right direction before they drag you back out to sea.” Since then the TMV team have presented their Predictions for 2016 for their respective areas:

The theme is particularly apt. We’ve written about disruption for many years. We have also commented about the speed of that disruption. And ‘Surfing the Waves of Disruption’ seems to convey both. Indeed, to continue Anthony’s analogy, the waves are coming thick and fast. If you miss the Big One, you really have missed a major opportunity. If you don’t ride it well, you will surely be wiped out. Indeed you might well think you have caught the right wave at the right time only for the next wave to wipe you out. How many times in HotViews have we warned of the ‘Disruptors being Disrupted’? Remember AOL? MySpace? Yahoo? We might soon write ‘Remember Twitter?’. How long before Uber, Airbnb etc themselves get challenged? We already have concerns over Google’s longevity.

That just covers the recent disruptors. What about the disruptors of earlier generations? SAP, Oracle, Microsoft have all had to change their models dramatically. Indeed are still in that difficult transition period with no absolute guarantee of success or even survival.

If you go back 50 years to the start of the computer revolution, not too many current readers will even be able to name the members of the BUNCH – let alone recall what major contribution they once made.

Then we come on to today’s major SIs. In some respects, many of these should be in a better position to cope. Afterall they have already survived during many previous periods of disruption. Their role in life is to help their clients through the disruption. This can create a major opportunity for them. But it is also a huge threat as those loyal clients move to smaller, faster, more agile and often much cheaper suppliers. You only have to look at the quite incredible, recent success of AWS.

I think – and have said to the CEOs of many of the largest suppliers in the last year – that many of them face the greatest challenge of their existence. I am not predicting their demise – although some will cease to exist in their current form. But, unfortunately, many will face a future where their standing in the industry is seriously diminished.

And, of course, in so many ways, that is why the more nuanced predictions from TMV’s highly regarded Research Directors are so important. Indeed, I would go so far as to warn ‘Ignore them at your peril’.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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