Rethinking Evolution in the Digital Economy

As digital transformation strategies mature, there’s a profound excitement around how next-generation tools are improving businesses and the lives of their customers. Data and analytics engines are enabling greater levels of personalization, cloud-based technology is supporting a wider connected ecosystem – it seems the sky is the limit. There is, however, an important lesson to be learned in the race to adoption. These tools are needed to stay competitive in today’s landscape, but what happens in five years when the next wave of innovation upends business’ digital infrastructure once again? As the Fourth Industrial Revolution picks up steam, organizations are beginning to see that the fight for survival isn’t rooted in one specific technology, but rather in how agile the organization can be in adapting to seize new business opportunities.

The rapid change that organizations are currently undergoing is being referred to by leading experts as “Digital Darwinism.” A form of modern natural selection, the theory is that businesses which evolve alongside technology and its impact on customer expectations survive and those that don’t, become extinct. A recent example is the bankruptcy of retailer Toys R Us. An industry behemoth in the pre-ecommerce era, Toys R Us failed to optimize for digital platforms, lagging behind competitors in balancing the convenience of online shopping with meaningful brick-and-mortar experiences. At first glance, it is easy to pin Toys R Us’ fall from grace on its sluggish approach to ecommerce. The truth of the matter is there was a fundamental lack of flexibility that didn’t reflect the changing expectations of customers – a lesson which extends far beyond any one industry.

Staying on the right side of Digital Darwinism has been a top priority for communications service providers (CSPs) in the last several years. When over-the-top (OTT) streaming services entered the mainstream earlier in the decade, cable companies were quick to understand its strengths and took measures to adopt new services which appeal to the on-the-go consumer. Rather than double down on traditional packages, CSPs found new ways to slice and dice content for the individual, prioritize seamless mobile experiences and streamline payment hubs. This willingness to adapt to core audiences (customers) signals that regardless of how technology evolves, CSPs will be ready to meet the challenges head on.

The digital economy is a remarkably fast-paced environment – particularly by enterprise standards. The rate at which technology advances is only increasing, which presents its own set of challenges and opportunities for businesses. When it comes to adoption, it is the mindset of agility, not the tools themselves which will determine who succeeds in the coming years. By preparing now, organizations across the spectrum can support and delight customers through digital transformation and beyond.

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