Published on in InnovationDigital Transformation

Another season of “I Am A Celebrity…” came to close this month in the UK.

The concept is simple, take a bunch of varied ‘successful’ individuals, throw them together in an alien environment full of challenges and see who survives and who falls by the wayside. When you put it like that, it sounds like everyday businesses doesn’t it?

I’ve written before about the hyperconnected world and the massive disruption it brings to businesses, with the potential to destroy major corporates – certainly ‘celebrity’ corporates – in a ‘Disruption Jungle’.

Like our human versions, it is those corporates that can quickly adapt and not only survive – but thrive – in this new environment that will go on to win.

But just how much and how fast do you need to change to succeed in the Disruption Jungle? Evolution or revolution? In my view, probably more of the latter than the former, and with a horizon of five years.

Take Microsoft. For many, views are polarised – hate them or love them.

I admire them – they are so much more than a survivor. Their core business for 20 years has been making and selling software, and they have dominated the market, generating high margins for many years. This has now been disrupted by the hyperconnected world.

First it was the internet, then mobile computing, and last but not least cloud services.

How has Microsoft responded? Well, it still makes and sells software, but the software has evolved to provide seamless delivery in an internet, mobile and cloud world: Windows 10.

It’s not just about supporting these environments, the commercial and development cycles have also evolved to support the agility and price points needed in this new world. In my book though, that’s still evolution – still making great software but differently.

More revolutionary, Microsoft is now positioning itself to take a leading position in the device and cloud world in its own right – it’s the stated core focus for Microsoft going forward.

That’s a seismic shift for a software company. For public cloud services, Microsoft has come from nowhere to be the only serious challenger (so far) to Amazon’s market leading position.

For devices, Microsoft has launched a constant barrage of new devices in quick succession, and as the launches come, the reviews get better and better. For a software company, that’s definitely revolution.

Margins are coming down (for now), significant investment is going in, and the new focus is driving deep into every aspect of the company.

Whether your business is in banking, insurance, energy, retail or pretty much anything, the hyperconnected world will already be disrupting your celebrity status.

Are you trying to evolve your way out of the problem, as you have always done – putting a smart digital front-end on what you have always done? Or is your ambition bigger – not just to hopefully survive, but thrive in the Disruption Jungle, using the power of the hyperconnected world to do new and exciting things in new markets.

Image credit: ITV press centre

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