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Digital Disruption: 1960 to 2015 and beyond

“Be the joyful digital disrupter, not the hesitant and befuddled digital disruptee.”
– Bob Evans, SVP Communications, Oracle

Source: Forbes

Source: Forbes

The new computer arrives.

The new computer arrives.

I’m a big fan of the recently concluded series Mad Men. The main theme of the show was societal change: Recognizing what has happened, what is happening, and dealing with it in one’s professional and personal lives. While the most common topics involved the role of women in the workplace, office politics, and personal reinvention, technological change was present as well. In the very first episode, a new employee receives the latest state-of-the-art tool for the workplace: an IBM Selectric typewriter. In the final season, many employees feel threatened when their firm purchases an IBM System/360 computer to help place TV ads.

Earlier this year, Bob Evans published the quote (top of the page) as the very first point in his “Top Ten Strategic Issues for CIOs in 2015.” (More on other points in later posts.) His colleague, Oracle CIO Mark Sunday, spoke about need for leadership in this area: “What big data, cloud, mobile, and social have enabled is the fundamental rethinking of business. Industries we never thought would be disrupted are being totally reinvented by leveraging the digital transformation. Because every industry is being disrupted there are great opportunities to not only reinvent the business you’re in but move into new market segments or enable inorganic growth into areas that previously weren’t available. The CIO needs to be out in the front of that.”

Even if the CIO is out in the front, though, there’s a need for leadership throughout the organization. Executives in finance, marketing, and other departments will need to understand that if they’re not making digital transformation a priority, some of their competitors are, affecting the management of everything from regulatory compliance to human capital.

TV shows will come and go, but not digital disruption. It’s the real thing.

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Daniel Rabbitt

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