When digital laggards finally recognize the degree of market disruption being caused by the rapid adoption of digital technologies, and desperately try to outrun the inescapable Darwinian effect of their slow response, they will be faced with not one, but three ages of digital transformation to navigate and survive. Understanding these ages, and what is unique about each one, is critical for business strategy, prioritizing, planning, sequencing and budgeting.
Today, we live and work in the Age of Disruptive Transformation. Traditional methods of conducting business, marketing products, delivering services, and engaging customers are being dramatically disrupted by digital technologies. These disruptions are caused by the rapid consumer adoption of a new set of new digital and mobile technologies. Enterprises that fail to recognize these consumer and market disruptions, and fail to rapidly respond to them, will ultimately join a long list of companies, with familiar brands, that have filed for bankruptcy as a result of their inability to transform at the speed consumers are adopting new digital technologies and behaviors.
The Age of Hyper-Transformation will take place between the years 2016 and 2020. During this age the gap between digital laggards and leaders will quickly widen into a chasm nearly impossible to leap.
Often new technology innovations emerge quietly, are misunderstood, and mature into something completely unexpected. VCs and angel investors start to pay attention, swarm and circle these new categories of technologies and start-ups. Once these digital technologies take root and begin disrupting traditional businesses, the velocity of their impact on businesses accelerates across the globe faster than enterprises can respond.
We are in the Age of Hyper-Transformation today, and we are already seeing the consequences on companies not able to react fast enough. These companies were blinded to early market and consumer signals, and failed to recognize market disruption until too late. These competitive oversights will be amplified during the Age of Hyper-Transformation and cause many leading companies to stumble.
The Age of Ubiquitous Transformation completes the series covering the years 2020-2025. The rate of accelerating business impact slows as digital technologies mature, business adoptions widen and become ubiquitous, and the new digital normal arrives. Robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning support the real-time digital enterprise, constantly monitoring and adjusting the business and alerting to changes in the rapidly changing competitive landscape.
The survivors of the two earlier ages of digital transformation will have adjusted their business models, sales and marketing, and supply chains to be agile, real-time, lean, all sensing and responsive to emerging technology and consumer trends. The new digital normal will embrace constant change and perpetual migration in symbiotic pace with the evolving digital consumer.