Digitalization and Disruption

Disruption, you could call it the revenge of digitalization. Those of us who consciously experienced the dotcom era at the turn of the century may remember how stock prices soared due to the combined promise of the digital transformation and the Internet. The Internet would create whole new business models and would rapidly change entire sectors. The corporate establishment stood by and watched. Working with a personal computer (PC) in the office, emailing instead of faxing or calling, that was one thing, a bit of business development online was another, but a whole new business model or a new strategy for the sake of the Internet? That’s just not on!

That was back then: the days of slow-modem Internet, exponentially less processing power for computers, memory chips and so on. The Internet hype came and went. Apart from a few companies, such as Google and Amazon, many of the new Internet companies failed miserably.

We now have WiFi and 5G and above all: very powerful computers that can effortlessly handle complex software, often provided with artificial intelligence. The dreams of the dotcom era are now becoming reality. Innovations involving mobile and social are the order of the day. Selling is as much done through Facebook and Google Maps as through a brick-and-mortar shop. Completely new strategies create new business models and these create changing value chains. An Internet platform like Marktplaats changed numerous sectors. We may then indeed call it disruption. The large corporations that remained almost bored on the sidelines at the turn of the century are now themselves forced to undergo a digital transformation or digital transition, as it is sometimes called.

This disruption does not end where we are now. Major themes such as climate change, the focus on sustainability, the stakeholder model, social impact and the rise of purpose-driven organizations require our brightest minds to focus on even faster digitalization, digital innovations and software solutions.

Digitalization is also causing a revolution in companies. Agile working, the agile organization, international decentralization, the rise of all kinds of robotics and robotization in general: none of this would be possible without digitalization, and especially the use of data, which is made available to whomever needs it via a cloud application.

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