Remember when you were a kid and went to an amusement park? Bumper cars were always a major attraction. Everyone, friends and strangers, together, with the freedom to do whatever you please. Some wanted to drive slowly, following others to eventually find their own way. Some other kids were obviously out to cause havoc and crash into others as hard as they could.
Digital transformation today is basically one big bumper car ride. All imaginable industries are there, developing their own digitalization plans and progressing in their own way. Some companies are investing more, some less. Some are following a very traditional path, while others are finding new, disruptive opportunities and challenging the status quo. In other words, crashing into others as hard as they can.
Looking at it across industries, digital transformation seems like a complex or even confusing phenomenon; one that no one has a comprehensive perspective on. There are too many complex technologies being developed and transformation is too dispersed globally, clearly moving ahead in distinct phases and at difference paces. It’s happening fast. That much we know. As with bumper cars, the predictability of the actions and their impact is very low.
Mapping digital transformation on a global and cross-industry level is hard, but we wanted to give it a serious try. Our aim was to review the digitalization of industries, understand what is driving their digital transformation and see what the most viable and common digital initiatives taken and opportunities identified in each industry are. We also categorized industries based on their degree of digitalization: some have clearly taken the hit of disruption already, while others are only beginning to make their digitalization plans and can’t really see the road ahead with as much clarity as they’d like. We wanted to illustrate a complex phenomenon in a simpler and more understandable way, and to identify common denominators, opportunities and challenges.
The result is the first version of the Futurice Digital Disruption Map. It consolidates what we think are the most essential factors in digital transformation right now. See the map here:
Creating the map was an enlightening and revealing exercise. It allowed our specialists from different fields to work together to share their thoughts and challenge each other. We found a number of important common denominators that deserve our attention across industries. Most importantly, we identified the following common forces that drive digital disruption everywhere:
We also identified a number of typical opportunities and areas of exploration that are attractive for companies from different industries:
There are common forces pushing digital transformation forward, presenting opportunities that more or less all companies try to grasp. As a result, the following questions emerged:
While we hope our Digital Disruption helps people grasp digital transformation in its various forms, we are aware of its weaknesses and limitations.
First; the map focuses, by choice, mostly on technological perspectives. Naturally there are human, cultural and societal “meta-level” implications, too: how is the nature of work changing? What new skills and jobs are needed? Which are becoming obsolete? How will governments respond and what will they do to maintain stability in the future?
Second; digital disruption will break industry boundaries. This map focuses on identifying the current state of each industry, but it does not adequately address all the new opportunities offered by industry convergence. Given all the disruptive development, does it make sense to retain existing industry definitions? Or would it make more sense to conclude that, once the transformation is over, completely new industries will exist?
Was this Digital Disruption Map useful? Do you see something in the global digital bumper ride that we missed? How can we improve on our map? We’d love to hear your thoughts and will be updating the map on a regular basis. Your help in doing this is appreciated.
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