Today’s C-Suite executives are under more pressure than ever to fend off the competition, drive business growth, create new revenue streams, reduce costs and balance the books.  More and more executives are turning to Cloud as another weapon in their arsenal, fueling their innovation aspirations and optimizing their business operations.  It remains a significant culprit behind the universal industry disruption that we will explore.

Innovation is disrupting everything.  “Two guys in a Starbucks now have access to the same computing power as a Fortune 500 company” (Jim Deters, Founder Galvanize).  The Telcos’ were early victims from the disruption caused by the OTT players (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, Viber).  Consider the last time you made a long distance phone call or even sent an SMS.  Uber is another very well known disrupter that revolutionized the means of transport services without car ownership itself.  There was an immediate impact to Taxis, then car rental companies felt the symptoms and consequent loss of revenue.  UberEats, the home food delivery service, direct from your favorite eatery, eating away at the local takeaway ordered every Thursday night.  Airbnb the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate, beware <4 star hotels.  Alibaba the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory.  The list goes on…

All these disrupters have a common denominator, they all use innovate business models and software to provide a much richer customer experience that alleviates some of the frustrations customers used to grudge.  Each of them applies some form of ‘Design Thinking’ with attention firmly set on delighting customers and removing their fears during each interaction step.  We will cover ‘Design Thinking’ in a separate blog, as this warrants it’s own air time entirely.

How can they possibly conceive these satisfying innovations and why didn’t this happen sooner?  There are 4 main culprits in total right now that are driving this trend and transforming the customer experience.  Data, Mobile and Social, all underpinned by Cloud.  Firstly, Cloud is accessible to anyone with a credit card.  The barrier to entry has vanished, opening up a new world of possibilities and encouraging innovation in every Industry.  There was a time in the not too distant past when a CEO could see his competitor from his office window, in the opposite tower, on the 40th floor.  The CEO now needs to look much further and towards a Garage somewhere in the suburbs or a startup incubator in the City.

Data, “the next natural resource“(Ginni Rometty – IBM CEO) and basis for competitive advantage.  Dark Data is everywhere and shares a similarity to Dark Fiber, which also has very limited use until you place a Network Device on either end and light it up.  Applying Analytics and Cognitive capabilities to Dark Data can light it up and provide the type of insights that snatch market share from the competition.

Mobile, with the average smart phone user checking their device 150 times per day (average excludes Pokemon GO users ;-).  This degree of interaction has propelled mobile to the primary channel for  customer interaction.

Lastly we have Social with 2 billion connections occurring daily, this has forever changed the way we intertwine and engage with one another.  These combined forces are creating a storm of disruption that is gaining momentum.  This is just the beginning and on the horizon lays a new wave of culprits awaiting their turn of disruption and seized by the evolving blockchain and cognitive capabilities (check out Anthony’s blogs).

C-Suite executives are turning to Cloud as both their ‘Get out of jail card’ and ‘Go to jail card’ for the opponent.  The Cloud conversation has matured, from cost savings to rapid business transformation, disabling the competition that is ill prepared to respond at pace.  Establishing a sound Cloud platform and DevOps capability is a winning formula for the Executive change agent.