I may be guilty here, so let me start with my own apology.
A few years ago the predictions were that we would 50B IoT devices in the market by 2020, it’s clear now that analyst firm was wrong. Today we have the more conservative view being expressed that will be up to 20B and as I look into my own crystal ball, that number feels high.
History is littered with predictions of euphoria and doom, and when it comes to business planning I seem to remember doing our five year business plan every year to account for “new market information” and guidance from the analysts we hired. Many times these analysts were little more than knowledge transfer from the worker bees to management who never trusted their own people.
So in this age of “Digital Transformation” where does a company start and who does it know that it won’t be caught off guard by the “new market information”.
I would love to say trade shows, and some times that is true, but more often than not technology does not get acknowledge until large investments have been made in the status quo.
Clayton Christensen’s book the innovators dilemma advocated for seeking the disruption. Wikipedia summarizes the concepts this way.
Christensen then argues that the following are common principles that incumbents must address
- Resource dependence: Current customers drive a company’s use of resources
- Small markets struggle to impact an incumbent’s large market
- Disruptive technologies have fluid futures, as in, it is impossible to know what they will disrupt once matured
- Incumbent Organizations’ value is more than simply their workers, it includes their processes and core capabilities which drive their efforts
- Technology supply may not equal market demand. The attributes that make disruptive technologies unattractive in established markets often are the very ones that consisted their greatest value in emerging markets
He also argues the following strategies assist incumbents in succeeding against the disruptive technology
- They develop the disruptive technology with the ‘right’ customers. Not necessarily their current customer set
- They placed the disruptive technology into an autonomous organization that can be rewarded with small wins and small customer sets
- They fail early and often to find the correct disruptive technology
- They allowed the disruption organization to utilize all of the company’s resources when needed but are careful to make sure the processes and values were not those of the company
At this moment in time the reality is that often the best way to move forward is to acquire the disrupter, however often this acquisition leads to integration (and eventual elimination) of the best elements in the status quo.
Sometimes that prolongs the life cycle of the existing product line, often it leaves “new market information” and opportunities behind.
In IoT right now I have several friends who are changing business processes for the better in many verticals. Often the biggest problem is “that’s not the way we do it here” mentality.
The solution IMHO is to have a strong strategy team that absorbs the analysts but searches for new applications that can either move the company forward or be invested in for future proofing the transformation.
If you have such a team, I think our trade show will be of great benefit, and I would be happy to guide them when we are together.
I may not be able to predict the future, but I can certainly help share “new market information”.