Keeping Up With Digital Disruption

The pace of digital change is clearly accelerating. For business and IT executives, all of this translates into huge challenges—but also enormous opportunities. Individuals who can innovate, disrupt and reinvent businesses and industries will emerge as the leaders in the new economy.

A recently released technology adoption report from TD Bank includes a number of technology trends. It recently surveyed CEOs, CFOs and company founders at the Bloomberg Breakaway Summit in New York City and found that:

  • 25 percent of respondents said they plan to invest in cloud technology and 21 percent in the internet of things (IoT) over the next year.
  • Only about 3 percent cited 3D printing as an investment focus.
  • 63 percent plan to increase capital spending.
  • 48 percent cited retained earnings as the primary source of funding for their company’s current capital spending.
  • 57 percent expect their credit needs to remain the same in the next year.

The factors that are most expected to impact their business over the next year are the 2016 presidential election (21 percent), technology innovation (20 percent) and the national economy (16 percent).

These findings are a bit surprising—and somewhat disturbing—from an IT perspective. Although only 67 executives contributed to this survey, the participants include top business leaders who offered valuable insights into how organizations are approaching business and IT considerations.

The fact that only one-quarter are investing in the cloud and a mere one-fifth are focusing on the IoT means that many of these companies are at risk of being disrupted and displaced. In today’s business environment, these numbers should hover at around 80 or 90 percent.

The reality is that clouds and IoT technologies are now synonymous with digital innovation and change. Without them, it’s impossible to take various processes and workflows to a higher level and achieve performance and cost gains that are now critical for success. Although 3D printing remains a bit over the horizon for many companies, it’s surprising that only 3 percent are investing in it. The technology should at least be on the enterprise radar or in an early test or pilot phase.

Today, it’s imperative that business and IT executives experiment, test, pilot and, in the end, fully understand both established and emerging technologies. Over the next few years, drones, wearables, augmented and virtual reality, robotics and many other technologies will evolve from being experiments to being mainstream tech.

Without clouds and a focus on the IoT, the organizations that lag are likely to find themselves threatened … or headed for extinction.