As a technology company, we spend a vast amount of our energy on advising our clients, in various sectors, on the ways that they can smartly adopt new technologies, business models and mindsets in order to survive the onslaught of digital disruption.

It seems that almost every industry is in a state of flux – pushed in new directions by the likes of Artificial Intelligence, high-speed connectivity, scalable Clouds, smart devices, data analytics, distributed ledgers and more. These technologies are certainly no longer buzzwords, or futuristic concepts. They’re having a direct impact on business, right here and now.

Disruption of technology companies

While we may be the ones talking about the impact of digitization on different industries, the irony is that ICT firms are also navigating their way through a major transition.

Traditional ways of providing technology solutions become increasingly irrelevant in the modern era.

In fact, a recent survey by Russell Reynolds Associates placed technology and telecommunications as two of the industries under the biggest threat of disruption (joining financial services, media and retail in the top five).

Cloud "commoditizes" almost everything

ICT companies are being asked to reinvent themselves as a number of different forces converge, whipping away some of their most stable revenue streams – particularly in the realms of ICT services and desktop support.

"Traditional ways of providing technology solutions become increasingly irrelevant in the modern era."

Perhaps the biggest factor is the commoditization of IT services, driven by hyper-scale data center players, which leverage massive Clouds to provide a vast range of enterprise tech services across the globe.

When this is combined with rapid advances in industrial-grade connectivity, local businesses are suddenly able to access new applications, platforms and infrastructure literally at the click of a button.

South African technology firms must adapt with agility – working with these platforms (rather than against them) to migrate complex enterprise applications into these new Cloud environments. From there, the value lies in orchestrating services from various Cloud platforms, giving clients a single point of contact to manage all their Clouds while guiding them on all the compliance, legal, and data security considerations.

Another way to ride the wave of Cloud disruption is to extend and customize Cloud services to suit specific local market needs. With this kind of deep specialization – into specific verticals and regions across the continent – ICT firms can effectively move up the value chain and become true strategic partners to their clients.

Exponential technology

Tomorrow’s winning ICT players will be those that apply exponential technologies to local markets, changing their clients’ businesses for the better.

For instance, our work with other technology partners at a large client demonstrated the possibilities when we combined big data with high-speed connectivity, Cloud platforms, modern ERP solutions, and connected devices. The client  now boasts an optimised operational environment, with everything managed by a central control centre, and exciting new innovations (such as drone and sensor technology) ushering in an entirely new era.

But it’s not just about the technology itself. The resourcing model for ICT firms will also shift as we dive further into the digital future. Instead of stacking teams with predominantly permanent staff (often deployed to client sites for extended periods of time), the new model will harness the flexibility of the so-called ‘gig economy’.

Forbes predicts that by 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers, in some capacity or another. “The instant gig economy is moving more towards independent professionals that are using mobile platforms and technology to create ecosystems of work they enjoy,” states the article.

For tech firms, the trick will be to harness the pool of talent (both within the organisation and outside its boundaries), matching key skills for specific projects and needs, composing, rotating and dissolving these ever-changing virtual teams to best serve the client’s needs.

Disruptive technologies are affecting every business, including technology players themselves. It’s only by embarking on ambitious, well-considered transformation strategies that a tech firm can expect to stay relevant over the coming years.


Cover image credit: Thomas Kvistholt/Unsplash